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    Feb 2012

    Default 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    5th edition D&D Druid Handbook

    Version 5.2

    Druids are full spell casters, and as such both powerful and versatile PCs. In addition, they sport a few other abilities - most notably Wild Shape, which allows them to assume animal forms. These two abilities give the druid a lot of potential flexibility, but also require that the player does a lot of reading and bookkeeping, if s/he wants to play a druid to full capability.
    You will eventually be required to choose between the various druid Circles: Dreams, Land, Moon, or Shepherd. The path you wish to tread can be a factor in almost every other choice you make for your druid build, and it will be referenced numerous times.
    I will refer to Ďcaster formí now and again, by which I mean the druidís form without wild shape or other shapeshifting in effect. Druids arenít able to cast spells in wild shape until level 18.

    First post deals with the first basic options in character creation:
    Ability Scores
    Common Races
    Uncommon Races
    All the Other Races

    Second post rounds out the options for a first level druid
    Circle Abilities: The four circles evaluated
    Cantrips
    Skills & Backgrounds

    Third post deals with what happens after character creation
    Basic Equipment: Purchasing your starting equipment
    Feats: What to spend your ASIs on
    The Role of the Druid: What you can do for your party and how

    Fourth post starts in on talking about spells
    Regarding Concentration: Why the Concentration mechanic is important and how to handle it
    Picking Prepared Spells: General discussion
    Healing: On Spells that Restore Hit Points
    Quickspell Guide: Sample prepared spell lists, broken down by level and druid circle

    Fifth post goes into details about specific spells
    Spell Analysis levels 1 through 4: Pros, cons, subtleties and uses of individual spells

    Sixth post continues about spells
    Spell Analysis levels 5 through 9: Pros, cons, subtleties and uses of individual spells

    Seventh post rounds out the spells
    Spell Analysis of Land Druid Circle Spells

    Eighth post deals with creature stat blocks relevant to druid abilities
    On Beasts: For conjuring and wild shapes
    On Elementals: For conjuring and wild shapes
    On Fey: For conjuring

    Ninth post is about multiclassing, specifically dipping
    Druid Dipping Directory: If you really must multiclass

    Tenth post looks at some magical items and thanks playgrounders
    Magical Items for Druids: For players and DMs
    Thank you!

    Colour codes are as follows:
    Great stuff
    Good stuff
    Decent stuff
    Could be a waste of your stuff
    Borderline useless stuff

    This is based on making a versatile and/or powerful character. I do not advocate picking the strongest option if another suits the player, character and/or campaign better, and there will be some allusions to less than optimal choices. Also note that usefulness is relative. In some groups, with certain DMs, or in certain campaign worlds, my broad generalizations will fall flat.
    Bold Red is the only out-and-out bad grade. Even simple red is likely to have uses, albeit situational and/or with somewhat slighter punch.

    Ability Scores
    While druids are among the classes least dependent on getting high ability scores, they are nevertheless a very important foundation for your druid's capabilities and prospects.
    Spoiler: Ability Scores
    Show
    Strength: You wonít be needing much of this. You can fight with your wisdom via spells and cantrips, and while wild shaped your original strength wonít matter. If your table is big on carrying capacity, you are one of the most wasteful ones to invest in strength to overcome this problem. Mules, carts and bags of holding are better for you.

    Dexterity: This is likely your third most important stat, as it gets you both initiative and AC. Dex saves are also common. You can run with dex and put your second best number here, especially if you are a +dex race and/or intend to be a stealthy druid. Moon druids are likely to value this stat somewhat less, as the caster formís score doesnít apply while wild shaped.

    Constitution: Important to everyone for the hp and saving throws, and this is likely where you put your second highest number. Even moon druids need to rely on spells and use caster form, much or little depending on how good their wild shapes are at the time.
    In addition to various debilitating effects and attacks, Constitution saves are also made to maintain Concentration on spells when you take damage. That makes it a frequent and important save for druids, who rely heavily on their Concentration spells.

    Intelligence: Intelligence has little use for the average druid. You are proficient in Int saves, which deal with illusions a lot. It is not among the most common saves. You may want to put points in Int to avoid having a dumb character, or if you have important skills attached to it. If your table use a lot of knowledge/lore/investigation rolls, Int becomes that much more useful.

    Wisdom: As your casting stat, this will determine save DCs and bonus to hit on your spells, and it adds to your prepared spells. This is nearly always where you put your highest available number. You also happen to be proficient in wis saves, which are fairly commonly targeted. It is also an important stat for skills, with Perception coming up particularly often.

    Charisma: You may have some skills attached to it, but apart from that, your charisma has very little utility. Charisma saves are not common. You may want to put points in it to avoid having a nasty character, especially if you pick up some party face skill(s).


    Common Races
    These peoples are found in the PHB and are commonly accepted at table.
    Spoiler: Common Races
    Show
    Dwarf
    +2 to constitution is good. Darkvision and resistance to poison are okay, but less useful to you than most characters; you get darkvision as a spell and canít take your racial darkvision with you into forms that donít already have it.
    Moon druids will face poison attacks more often, as they are more likely to spend time in the front line. They are also not as free to cast to overcome this problem. But they can shift to elementals that are immune to poison from level 10. Land druids are immune to poison from that level too. Dreams and shepherd druids will still like poison resistance after level 10.
    The 25í speed is felt in caster form, though it isnít a deal breaker.
    Hill Dwarf mechanics are perfectly suitable for a druid, with +1 hp per level and +1 wisdom. Ask your DM if those bonus hit points do something for your wild shapes; but donít get your hopes up. Mearls has tweeted that it wonít work.
    Mountain Dwarf gets you nothing useful.
    Duergar(MToF p. 81) suffer from sunlight sensitivity, which is annoying, and it may apply anywhere from a lot to never, depending on the campaign. Bonus to strength is no good. 120' darkvision is useful, but you should expect to lose it in wild shape. Advantage on saves against illusions (often checks, not saves), charm (rare and generally workable problem for PCs), and paralyzation (also rare, but very dangerous when it does show up) are all pretty niche, but that's three niches. Duergar magic gives you a self-Enlarge (but you will soon have better things to spend your Concentration on, even if you are a moon druid), and self-Invisibility (nice if you don't have it from grassland land druid). Direct sunlight prevents these being cast, so this too is something where the campaign should be considered.

    Elf
    +2 to dexterity is good for caster form. Itís not a waste for moon druids, but they will be using wild shapes and their physical scores more often than other circles. Darkvision is less useful to you than most classes (you get darkvision as a spell and canít take your racial darkvision with you into forms that donít already have it). Proficiency in Perception may be boring, but itís probably the most used skill in the game, and it deals with important stuff like ambushes. Trance means you can take your long rest in 4 hours according to errata, so switching your prepared spell list need not inconvenience the groupís itinerary. Two elves in the party means itís easy to have someone proficient in Perception awake all night.
    Dark Elf: Charisma is a poor score to advance for a druid. The superior darkvision is the best part of the dark elf, but as with all darkvision it goes away in wildshape. Drow Magic is somewhat less of a boon to a full caster. Then thereís the harsh Sunlight Sensitivity, which pulls this choice down, meaning it's the least attractive elf subrace. Hand crossbow and short sword can be useful proficiencies early on. If youíre in an underground campaign (or perhaps a Moon druid and your group say that Sunlight Sensitivity goes away in wild shape), Dark Elf creeps up between high and wood.
    Eladrin (DMG p. 286) is a subrace that is game technically almost identical to high elves. They lose the bonus cantrip, and instead get to cast Misty Step once per rest. Itís likely a pretty good trade, unless you happen to be Dreams circle druid level 10+, or coastal Land druid level 3+.
    Eladrin (MToF p. 61-62): While more interesting than the DMG eladrin, this feels like a step down in mechanical power. You lose the weapon proficiencies, but add an additional effect on the Fey Step. At later levels, this is probably a good trade, but losing proficiency in longbow is sad at least until level 5, and probably after that. The Autumn and Winter effects have utility, helping you if you are using Fey Step to get away from danger (or if you need a quick charm or fear effect in a social situation). Spring is a little more niche, but could save a vulnerable team member, or help someone who doesn't have access to wild shape movement modes. Summer will quickly become pretty worthless, even if you have a high charisma for some reason.
    High Elf: Extra weapon proficiencies can be quite useful at low levels, but they matter less and less as you advance. The boost to intelligence is pretty useless unless you build specifically for it (with skills and/or multiclassing). The free cantrip may be something to look into, but you probably wonít have the int to back up an offensive choice. Thatís too bad, because druid offensive cantrips arenít too reliable or hard hitting. Booming Blade or Greenflame Blade (SCAG melee cantrips) can effectively be governed by Wis if you use them with the Shillelagh cantrip. GFB wonít do much for you until level 5, though, and BB needs a little thought to work to full potential.
    Sea Elf (MToF p. 62): Not a bad subrace in general, but for druids there is a lot of redundancy: Swim speed, breathing water, speaking with aquatic animals. Net proficiency could be interesting, allowing you to debuff with your action instead of flinging a cantrip, and +con is obviously welcome.
    Shadar-kai (MToF p. 62-63): +con is good, necrotic resistance is not that commonly applied, but at least you don't have spells that cover this already. Short range, bonus action teleport is welcome (with an additional 'please don't hurt me' effect for a round from level 3), though only once per long rest. Another elf without an interesting weapon proficiency, which is a little sad, especially early on.
    Wood Elf: +1 wisdom is right up your alley, and +5í movement is a nice bonus - slightly less so for Moon druids who spend more time wild shaped than the other druids. Mask of the Wild may come in handy while scouting in animal form, and stealthy druids in general can use this. But you are highly dependent on the environment and the DM for just how often it will come into play. Longbow and short sword proficiencies may well outdo your offensive cantrips, at least until level 5.

    Halfling
    +2 to dexterity is good for caster form. Itís not a waste for Moon druids, but you will spend less time using caster form and its physical scores than the other druids. The 25í speed is conversely felt more by non-Moons. Lucky is nice for anyone. Brave, along with your proficiency and high wisdom should keep you from getting scared much. Being able to move through the space of someone just one size larger than you is most useful for Moon druids, who are much more likely to spend time in melee range. They are, however, also a lot more likely to spend time in large or huge forms, especially as you advance in level, making Halfling Nimbleness hard to use.
    Lightfoot: Nothing really great here. You donít get much out of hiding in combat, even as a stealthy druid. You might use it to hide while concentrating on a critical spell, but being behind total cover or just a long way away works better for that. And ideally you should at least be pelting your enemies with some cantrip or ranged weapon in battle, rather than spending your actions on hiding.
    Stout: +1 con is good. Resistance to poison is okay, but you do get spells from level 3 and certain circle abilities (Land immunity and Moon elemental forms) from level 10 to deal with poison.
    Ghostwise Halfling: (SCAG p. 110): A rare, halfling subrace native to FaerŻn. It gives +1 wisdom (quite nice), and the ability to communicate telepathically. Thatís useful while in wild shape, provided the DM allows it to work in wild shape.
    This is a nice subrace, easily comparable to Stout. Ghostwise is clearly better for land druids from level 10 (when Stout poison resistance is superseded by druid immunity), and probably moon druids long before that (for wild shape communication). Dreams and Shepherd cruids are likely to find Stout poison resistance of use throughout their career, so it depends more on the campaign whether Stout or Ghostwise helps more for them.

    Standard Human
    +1 to all stats is not so useful to you, needing mostly wisdom. It may let you get a temporary advantage e.g. with a 15/15/15/8/8/8 score buy (putting the 15s into con, dex and wis), but in general this isnít a very inspiring or powerful choice, granting no new options or abilities.

    Variant Human
    A starting feat is very useful, especially if youíre playing from level 1, and a free skill is nothing to be sniffed at. See the Feats section in post 3 for discussion on feats. Moon druids are generally more feat hungry than other circles, but all can do with an extra feat.


    Uncommon Races
    Though found in the PHB, these races may well be absent from a campaign world.
    Spoiler: Uncommon Races
    Show
    Dragonborn
    The stat advances are really poor for almost any druid. The 1/rest breath weapon is hardly impressive either, beyond very early levels. Itís a little more interesting if you can use it in wild shape as a Moon druid (JC would allow it, but your DM may not; consider a mouse producing that kind of breath). The best thing about dragonborn might well be resistance to one sort of elemental damage.
    Iíd pick something dealing fire damage, as it is probably the most commonly encountered. This means your breath weapon is also less versatile, but since your breath damage doesn't scale very fast, but enemy damage does, this is a good long term trade-off.
    Poison is another commonly encountered damage type. On the other hand, land and moon circles have ways of being immune to poison from level 10, and Protection from Poison is a non-Concentration spell.

    Gnome
    The intelligence boost is probably not that useful to you. Darkvision is nice, but not essential due to incompatibility with wild shapes and you having Darkvision as a spell. Gnome cunning, however, gives you advantage on a lot of saves against a potent and common source of saves Ė magic.
    Forest Gnome
    The extra dex is decent at least for caster forms. An illusion cantrip is versatile, and is a kind of magic you wonít find much of in your druid spell list. The ability to speak with small animals is very fluffy. The Speak with Animals spell is strictly better, if you have it prepared. Better still is Speech of the Woods, the second level Shepherd circle ability, which makes the gnome ability obsolete.
    Rock Gnome
    A highly eccentric choice for a druid. The bonus to con is nice, but the rest is more cute/funny (if you like that kind of thing, unlike me, admittedly) than outright useful.
    Deep Gnome: Found in the EEPC (p. 5), VGtM (p. 115), and MToF (p. 113-114). Compared to forest gnome, this is an option around the same level of goodness. In caster form youíll get some use out of 120í darkvision (but it gets lost in wild shape), and if you are a stealth druid, advantage in caves and mountains is nice, if situational.

    Half-Elf
    If you pick this race, youíre probably going for a charismatic PC, in which case the boost to charisma isnít such a waste. The darkvision is nice, though hardly essential for someone who can cast the spell and canít bring darkvision along into wild shapes that donít already have it. Getting two bonus skills is a pretty good deal, and it lets you capitalize on that extra charisma if you so choose.
    Make sure you put those +1s in places that will fit your advancement scheme.

    Half-Orc
    The strength boost is pretty much a waste on a druid, but the con is always welcome. Darkvision is good, but you can cast the spell and canít bring this ability along into wild shapes that donít already have darkvision. Proficiency in Intimidation is a matter of taste, but generally you wonít have the charisma to take full advantage of it. Relentless Endurance is either close to useless, or pretty good. It depends on how it interacts with your wild shape forms. If it can save a form, itís good, particularly for moon druids. If it canít, its usefulness is somewhat situational (standing with 1hp left is often quite dangerous, so you wonít always want to use this ability even when you can). So ask your DM about that. Savage Attacks isnít as useful to a druid as it is to a great-axe wielder (getting +1d12, much better than the Shillelagh or the average beast or elemental form). On the other hand, if you are a Moon druid, you will be hungering for more damage, and every little helps.

    Tiefling
    The ability increases (cha and int) donít work well for druids, and Darkvision isnít a big thing. Some extra spellcasting is nice. At least the tiefling spells are not on the standard druid list. The best thing about Tiefling is probably the resistance to fire damage, which is good (probably the best energy resistance all-round considering how often itís encountered compared to other types), but rather dependent on what foes you will face. And you can, of course, cast Protection from Energy from level 5 if it does become a big deal for a while.
    FaerŻnian tieflings (SCAG p. 118) hark back to the editions, when tieflings could have very varied features. This can also affect their mechanics.
    Feral is preferable to standard tiefling, as it gives a boost to dex rather than cha.
    Winged is a mighty good option (possibly too good), comparable even to the EEPC aarakocra.


    All the Other Races
    There are quite a few races of more exotic origins scattered through various publications. The Elemental Evil Player's Companion (available here) contains some freely available optional races.
    Iíll go through all the non-PHB races here.
    Spoiler: All the Other Races
    Show
    Aarakocra
    EEPC p. 3. Unlimited, non-Concentration flight from level 1 is a big thing in many situations (flying out of reach, getting quickly and easily to safety or past obstacles, etc.), though you will eventually be able to fly via spells and wild shape. The ability-bonuses are quite good (+dex and wis). Mechanically speaking, this is a very strong option for most druids (if you can stand being a humanoid bird). A little less so for moon druids, as most of the good stuff goes away in wild shape.
    The usefulness does depend somewhat on the campaign, as flying is not nearly as useful indoors and underground, and you do only have 25í ground movement.

    Aasimar, DMG
    The DMG Aasimar (p. 286) are less likely to be available than most race options. They are very similar to Tieflings, but get a nice +1 to wisdom rather than intelligence. The +2 to charisma is likely not that useful. Their racial spells are almost entirely covered in the druid spell list, and their energy resistances are not likely to play much of a role until mid or high levels. At least itís not something covered by the Resistance spell.

    Aasimar, VGtM
    The VGtM Aasimar (p. 104) are more official than their DMG namesakes. Their charisma boost is not a priority for druids in general. Darkvision is nice, but can be managed without, with the spell if needs be; itís lost with wild shape anyway. Celestial Resistance will come up rarely, and mostly at higher levels. At least it is not easily emulated with druid spells. Healing Hands is, however. Having the Light cantrip (while also having Darkvision) is, again, not completely useless, but not that useful, either.
    Protector: Bonus to wisdom is good. Radiant Soul is a minor boost to damage dealing, so if youíre focusing on that, it could be okay. Damage dealing isnít generally the druidís strong suit, and this doesnít fundamentally change that - especially since activating it is an action and the duration short. The flight should likely be for combat purposes. Perhaps a flying bear, if the DM allows it?
    Scourge: Con is a nice ability boost. A moon druid during one of the heights of the wild shape power curve could probably have some fun with Radiant Consumption Ė if the DM lets you activate it in wild shape. Otherwise, a bit of extra damage at the cost of being a danger to allies near you and losing hp is not particularly attractive, and you donít need the extra threat to Concentration.
    Fallen: A Strength boost is pretty much a lost opportunity to a druid. You likely donít have the charisma to make Necrotic Shroud really work for you. Again, the extra damage is a little something, but likely not that big a deal.

    Bugbear
    VGtM p. 119. +str is wasteful, +dex is nice. Darkvision, as usual, isnít a big priority to those who can cast the spell at need, and who lose it in wild shape anyway. Melee attacks at a little extra range would require some very specific druidic choices to be useful. Melee isnít generally your forte. Though if it carries over to wild shapes you may be able to have some fun, particularly with attacks that restrain or grapple. Powerful build is justÖ there. Doesnít hurt, helps very little. If it works in wild shape it could allow you to move some really large quantities, of course. Surprise attack is pretty good at low levels if you can get it off; helpful if youíre a stealthy druid, and you happen to be proficient in Stealth as a bugbear. The extra damage fades in importance fairly soon, as it doesnít scale.

    Firbolg
    VGtM p. 106. This one seems a great fit for a druid, but there is too much overlap and redundancy to really make it shine. +2 to wisdom is obviously great, and a rare opportunity for so great a racial bonus to your casting stat. +1 strength is rather a waste, however. Firbolg Magic is somewhat covered by druid spells and ability to shapeshift. Hidden Step is a cute ability, which among many other things can be used to surreptitiously turn into a small animal when you are being observed. Powerful Build is so-so at best, but may factor into something cheesy if the DM lets it work while youíre an elephant, say. Being able to speak to animals and plants is very fluffy, but you can already do this with spells as a druid. If you are a Shepherd, you have the animal speaking covered that way.

    Genasi
    EEPC p. 7-10 and PotA p. 227-229. All genasi get a bonus to con, which is nice, but most of the stuff is in the subrace.
    Air: +1 dex is decent (less so for moon druids); the ability to hold your breath indefinitely is highly situational, and you do get water breathing as a spell, and can turn into creatures that can breathe underwater. Levitate 1/day is a moderately cute option at low levels, but not that big a deal. You get other options for manoeuvring and you already have many things to spend your Concentration on.
    Earth: Strength bonus is rather a waste. Land druids get something better than earth walk from level 6. Dreams and Shepherd druids can find some use there. Does it stay with a wild shape? Then moon druids might like it. Pass without Trace is a great spell, but you can cast it anyway from level 3.
    Fire: Bonus to int is likely a waste for you. Darkvision is nice enough, though you lose it with wild shape and can get it with a spell. Fire resistance is very nice. The spellcasting options are not so great, as you either have them (and with a better casting stat), or they donít scale.
    Water: +wis is of course just what you want. Acid resistance likely wonít come into play so often. Being able to breathe water is cute, but youíll be able to cast spells to deal with that from level 5, and wildshape does it from level 4. The swim speed is situationally useful. You already have Create/Destroy Water (and it doesnít come into play that often), and though Shape Water is a pretty cool cantrip, it isnít exactly powerful.

    Gith
    MToF p. 36. +1 int doesn't mean much one way or the other, so most of the racials are from the subraces.
    Githyanki: +str is rather a waste. Bonus language and tool is no big deal. Longsword and greatsword proficiency rely on strength and therefore suck for druids, while short swords aren't that different from your scimitar. Psionics do have some utility: Mage hand is a decent cantrip. Jump is unlikely to give you much that the right wild shape can't do for you, but you can cast Jump on someone else. And Misty Step once per long rest is a nice addition (though not to coastal land druids, who have it as a spell). Comes close to a green rating almost on the strength of misty step alone, but doesn't quite get there with all the waste in this subrace.
    Githzerai: +2 wisdom is obviously a juicy bonus. Advantage against being charmed or frightened seems rather niche, but doesn't hurt. Githzerai psionics are good, but not quite as good as the githyanki ones: Mage hand is a nice cantrip. Shield is a fine spell, and can save you from a Concentration save, but once per long rest makes its optimal application rather hard to judge. Detect Thoughts is pretty niche, but it's something you won't have access to from druid spells, and it casts with wisdom.

    Goblin
    VGtM p. 119. +dex and +con are both quite welcome. Darkvision isnít a big deal for druids, but itís there. Dealing extra damage once per rest may be quite funny if you shift to a small goat and deal it, but generally it wonít make a huge difference. Being able to disengage or hide as a bonus action can get you out of trouble Ė and it works better if you happen to be stealthy.

    Goliath
    EEPC p. 10, and VGtM p. 108. A slight variation on half-orc, but without the angst. +str is a waste, +con is nice. Proficiency in Athletics is good. Stoneís Endurance can be a nice little panic button (could save your wild shape too, unless the DM decides they donít work together), although its numbers donít scale with level. Powerful build is rather a waste on a shapechanger who doesnít favour strength. It may or may not work in wild shape depending on the DM, with potentially heavy consequences (a-ha-ha) for scaling up the carrying capacity of large and huge beasts. Mountain Born is highly situational, and you could probably emulate it with the right wild shape if needed.

    Hobgoblin
    VGtM p. 119. Red or green early on for non-moon druids with the dex to make use of martial weapons, but drops to red after a while. +con is good, +int isnít really. Darkvision is the usual nice-but-not-that-big. Getting proficiency in a couple of martial weapons can be pretty good at low level if you have the dex to use them. A bow and a rapier springs to mind as useful choices. Saving Face works best when you have plenty of friends around, which incidentally is also the time when youíre most likely to get help if you screw up. But a bunch of conjured minions watching you may help you make a critical Concentration save.

    Kenku
    VGtM p. 109-111. Dex and wis are attractive stat boosts. Expert Forgery is probably not right up the druidís alley. Grabbing Stealth and one of the other skills makes for a nice addition. Deception and Acrobatics could be something, while Sleight of Hand is unlikely to see much use. Adventurers just kill people and take their stuff. Mimicry is not that hot. You can already imitate plenty of things by turning into them, and with much better success rate.
    Kenku speech is a bit odd, and could require some interpretation. The campaign may have them unable to speak. If youíre a non-speaking kenku, paradoxically you could become able to speak by wild shaping into a beast (or elemental as moon druid 10) with a language. Giant versions of Moose and Eagle have their own tongues, e.g. Errata indicates that the intention is for druids to be able to speak in those cases. Whether that intention also applies to non-speaking kenku is still hazy to me. Speak with Animals/Plants should work regardless of kenku speech capability, granting the power to communicate verbally in the case of animals.
    The Shepherd druidís Speech of the Wood relies on speech specifically, but it also says specifically that you learn to speak Sylvan. So whether you gloss over the Ďspeechí or take it seriously, you should end up as an otherwise non-speaking kenku, who is able to speak with animals. Ask your DM about all this.

    Kobold
    VGtM p. 119. Better for Moon druids, provided Pack Tactics works in wild shape. +dex is nice, and Ėstr is unlikely to hamper you. Darkvision is nice to have, gets lost in wild shape, and if you must have it, you do already have the option of the spell. Grovel, Cower and Beg is amusing, and potentially strong; could be a better use of an action than flinging a druid cantrip. But it does mean you have to be pretty close to the enemy. Pack tactics, if the DM will let it, could be very nice for a wild shaping druid at those times when wild shape combat works well, but there are many PCs that can make far better use of this pretty powerful ability than druids. Sunlight Sensitivity sucks.

    Lizardfolk
    VGtM p. 111-113. Con and Wis are attractive stat boosts. Bite isnít generally useful; you donít have the strength to use it, and you can just turn into something with a bigger maw and higher strength if you really need to bite someone. But since youíre probably supposed to be proficient in it, some DMs may rule that you retain that proficiency when wild shaped. The wild shape text spells out skill and save proficiencies as carrying over, but not weapon profs. It does say that you retain stuff from race that the animal is capable of doing Ė and many beasts bite. This wonít matter much at lower levels, but since the highest proficiency bonus of beasts you can wild shape to is +3, but you personally can end up with +6, it could mean you would hit a little better with bite attacks while wild shaped. Ask your DM if you dare.
    Cunning Artisan fits the druid armoury pretty well, and could come in handy now and again Ė but itís mostly cute rather than useful. Holding your breath for long periods can be emulated with spells and wild shapes. Proficiency in some appropriate skills is a nice touch. Iíd suggest Perception and Survival, but thereís something to be said for a druid proficient in any and all of the lizardfolk options. Natural Armor is as good as +1 studded leather, and likely to serve you perfectly well for a large part of your career. Hungry Jaws would be used in desperation in caster form, but if the DM allows it, you can use it in certain wild shapes for a little extra offensive oomph and a tiny pool of temporary hp.

    Orc
    VGtM p. 120. +str is sad, +con is happy. Darkvision is so-so. Aggressive could be nice for a wild shape if the DM lets it work. Intimidate isnít the best of skills, and youíre not likely to have the charisma to use it well. Powerful build is quite minor, albeit potentially worth a giggle if allowed to work in wild shape.

    Tabaxi
    VGtM p. 113-115. Extra dex is pretty nice, extra charisma is not much of anything. Darkvision is nice enough, but not critical for someone who canít take it along to wild shapes, and who has a spell that will give it. The burst of speed is a sort of free dash action, which can be quite useful in getting out of melee or into a useful position for spellcasting. If it works in wild shape (ask your DM), it could be a pretty big boost. Horses, e.g., have a high movement speed, which would get doubled. Climb speed is nice, letting you get around and climb out of melee range, though you can also climb in many wild shapes. Being able to cattily claw at people is much better if you do it in wild shape. But since youíre probably supposed to be proficient in it, some DMs may rule that you retain that proficiency when wild shaped. The wild shape text spells out skill and save proficiencies as carrying over, but not weapon profs. It does say that you retain stuff from race that the animal is capable of doing Ė and many beasts claw. This wonít matter much at lower levels, but since the highest proficiency bonus of beasts you can wild shape to is +3, but you can end up with +5, it could mean you would hit a little better with claw attacks while wild shaped. Ask your DM if you dare. Proficiency in Perception and Stealth is quite welcome.

    Triton
    VGtM p. 115-118. +con is nice, +cha and +str is not much use. All the rest is basically covered between spells and wild shapes. Having access to it all as a bonus in caster form is cute, but really doesnít add to your overall options.

    Yuan-ti Pureblood
    VGtM p. 120. +cha and +int are both low priority to druids. Darkvision is what it is, nice but no large deal. The innate spellcasting is something you can do most of, except the Suggestion. Thatís a little something at least, if you have the charisma for it (which, as a druid, you probably don't). Magic Resistance is pretty nice, and so is poison immunity until you get to level 10 (when land druids are also immune to poison, while moon druids can turn into poison-immune elementals). Dreams and Shepherd druids get the full enjoyment of poison immunity.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-11-17 at 07:10 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 2

    Choosing a Circle: Druid Abilities
    Your best choice for circle depends very much on the group youíre with. Dreams druids can provide more healing, Land druids are the most versatile spellcasters, Moon druids are good at surviving when thereís a lack of frontliners, and Shepherds are very effective at buffing their own frontliners.
    You could also consider when you want to top. Dreams and Land druids have the smoothest advance in power and versatility from 1 to 20. Shepherds are strongest when beast and fey minionmancy is powerful, from level 5 and up to somewhere in the early teens. Moon druids get a big power spike at level 2, and then gradually decline in comparative power. They get another spike at 10, and then decline again. They get another top with Beast Spells at 18. And finally, they explode in power at 20.
    Another way to look at it is survivability vs. power to affect enemies. Moon druids are probably the hardest to kill, but their spells get no help and may even suffer from circle use (cannot cast in wild shape, and may spend slots on healing the wild shapes). Dreams druids have lesser, but still considerable defences in the form of healing and mobility from their circle, and their spells are not held back. Land and Shepherd druids are closer to each other, depending on the Land spells gained, as these can have considerable defensive potential. But generally speaking, those two circles add some defence from their circle, but mostly they get bonuses to their spellcasting.

    Spoiler: Dreams Druid
    Show
    Dreams druid rundown

    Druidic, 1: You know the secret language of the druids. Canít hurt, but not a big deal.

    Spellcasting, 1: This is where most of your power and options come from.

    Ritual Casting, 1: If a spell is marked ĎRitualí and you have it prepared (youíre not a wizard, Harry), you can cast it without expending a spell slot by adding 10 minutes to the casting time. Not bad, but wonít save you many spell slots on most days.

    Wild Shape, 2: Iconic, fluffy, versatile. Gives more options (movement, stealth, ability scores), and can be used for some fighting in the low to mid levels.

    Balm of the Summer Court, 2: Ranged, bonus action healing that can be used in wild shape. Quite nice. Since it isn't a spell, it allows you to bonus action heal and cast a non-cantrip spell in the same round, which is nice in a crunch.

    Ability Score Improvement, 4, 8, 12, 16, 19: Youíll probably want to up your wisdom score to 20, and there are some feats well worth taking for Dreams druids. See the spoiler ĎFeatsí below for options on that.

    Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow, 6: A considerable bonus for resting in dangerous places, making it both more comfortable and safer. Since it ends at the end of your rest, elves may have to make a bunch of short rests after their long rest to keep the party covered. The reason I rate it fairly low is mostly that it does less well than Rope Trick and Leomund's Tiny Hut spells. You may never have a good reason to use this ability, depending on the campaign. If you're the one who will have to keep the party safe while resting, consider this green instead.

    Hidden Paths, 10: Bonus action, short ranged teleports. Can teleport yourself 60' or an ally 30'. This is an excellent manoeuvrability tool with multiple uses per long rest. With a good amount of uses and no interference with spellcasting, this ability really lets you flit about the battlefield in a wonderful way, letting you be safe and in just the right spot.
    I consider this ability the saving grace of the Dreams druid, whose other circle abilities are a little lacklustre compared to the power or versatility of other circles.

    Walker in Dreams, 14: A once per long rest, and after short rest, ability to cast one of three spells without expending slots or material components. Casting Dream results in an eight-hour trance, so this is for use in safe places. Nice to have, sure, but mostly for fluff. Scrying is much more likely to be the option on a given adventuring day, a good spell to have. But then, youíve had it since level 9. The Teleportation Circle sends you back to where you last took a long rest. Could be useful, but a lot of the time, you could have gone there instead of taking an hour long break. And you have had Transport via Plants since level 11. All in all, this is a lot less impressive on closer examination.

    Timeless Body, 18: From now on, you age at 1/10th the normal rate. Cool, but with few practical implications.

    Beast Spells, 18: You can now cast certain spells while in wild shape. Not bad, at least you can use your wild shape to add an additional layer of defences via movement and a small bag of hp.
    Giant 2005 posted about this in another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant2005 View Post
    This part inspired me to investigate a little bit, so I went and listed all of the Druid spells they are capable of casting while Wildshaped. They aren't bad - there are still a lot of good spells in there. Here is the list if anyone cares:

    Cantrips: Druidcraft, Guidance, Poison Spray, Produce Flame
    1st: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, Healing Word, Purify Food and Drink, Speak with Animals, Thunderwave
    2nd: Beast Sense, Find Traps, Lesser Restoration, Protection from Poison
    3rd: Call Lightning, Conjure Animals, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Plant Growth, Protection from Energy, Speak with Plants
    4th: Blight, Conjure Minor Elementals, Dominate Beast, Giant Insect, Grasping Vine
    5th: Antilife Shell, Commune with Nature, Contagion, Geas, Mass Cure Wounds, Tree Stride
    6th: Conjure Fey, Heal, Transport via Plants
    7th: Fire Storm, Mirage Arcane
    8th: Animal Shapes, Tsunami
    9th: Storm of Vengeance
    Archdruid, 20: Unlimited wild shapes. You can freshen up your wild shape as you like, giving you more flexibility. Not the best of capstones, but decent. Better if you're using Stealth, for the ability to cast without using components.


    Spoiler: Land Druid
    Show
    Land druid rundown

    Druidic, 1: You know the secret language of the druids. Canít hurt, but not a big deal.

    Spellcasting, 1: This is where most of your power and options come from.

    Ritual Casting, 1: If a spell is marked ĎRitualí and you have it prepared (youíre not a wizard, Harry), you can cast it without expending a spell slot by adding 10 minutes to the casting time. Not bad, but wonít save you many spell slots on most days.

    Wild Shape, 2: Iconic, fluffy, versatile. Gives more options (movement, stealth, ability scores), and can be used for some fighting in the low to mid levels.

    Bonus Cantrip, 2: An extra cantrip is always nice. Cantrips are often situational, so more options get you better covered.

    Natural Recovery, 2: Recovering some spell slots during a short rest, once per long rest. Adds to your stamina, and makes you less resistant to taking short rests Ė many PCs are likely to be more interested in them than a land druid.

    Circle Spells, 3, 5, 7 and 9: Adds spells permanently to your spell list and your prepared list; can be a nice addition to your options.
    Spoiler: Land Spells
    Show
    The usefulness of land spell lists is mostly in what new spells they add. Another consideration is how commonly you would want to have the spells on the list prepared. Spells you would want to prepare anyway frees up a slot, while highly situational spells sit there all the time that you have no use for them. A quick rundown follows, and you can find analysis of each of these spells under the spoiler ĎLand Druid Circle Spellsí in post 7.

    Arctic: Expands your options with Slow and Cone of Cold. Commune with Nature is not a spell you usually need at a momentís notice.

    Coast: Expands your options with Mirror Image and Misty Step. Has Water Breathing, Water Walk, Control Water and Scrying as spells you wouldnít be preparing on a daily basis.

    Desert: Expands your options with Blur, Silence and Create Food and Water. Hallucinatory Terrain and Create Food and Water are very situational spells, Silence less so.

    Forest: Grants Spider Climb and Divination. Spider Climb, Divination, Commune with Nature and Tree Stride are spells you could probably prepare as needed.

    Grassland: Expands your options with Invisibility, Haste, Divination and Dream. Daylight, Divination and Dream are spells that wonít be cast during most adventure days.

    Mountain: Expands your options with Spider Climb, Lightning Bolt and Passwall. Spider Climb is the only one Iíd single out as situational here.

    Swamp: Expands your options with Darkness, Melfís Acid Arrow and Stinking Cloud. Water Walk, Locate Creature and Scrying are spells not obviously prepared.

    Underdark: Expands your options with Spider Climb, Web, Gaseous Form, Stinking Cloud, Greater Invisibility and Cloudkill. Spider Climb and Cloudkill are less than run-of-the-mill.


    Ability Score Improvement, 4, 8, 12, 16, 19: Youíll probably want to up your wisdom score to 20, and there are some feats well worth taking for land druids. See the spoiler ĎFeatsí below for options on that.

    Landís Stride, 6: Makes you better at avoiding reductions to your mobility. Mobility and positioning is your first line of defence, so this is a welcome addition, if somewhat situational.

    Natureís Ward, 10: Immunity to poison and disease; and the conditions charmed and frightened if caused by fey or elementals. The latter part are quite rare problems, but the first are more likely to come in handy. All in all not the worst addition to your defences.

    Natureís Sanctuary, 14: Makes it harder for beast and plant type creatures to attack you. Situational, bordering on useless in most campaigns.

    Timeless Body, 18: From now on, you age at 1/10th the normal rate. Cool, but with few practical implications.

    Beast Spells, 18: You can now cast certain spells while in wild shape. Not bad, at least you can use your wild shape to add an additional layer of defences via movement and a small bag of hp.
    Giant 2005 posted about this in another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant2005 View Post
    This part inspired me to investigate a little bit, so I went and listed all of the Druid spells they are capable of casting while Wildshaped. They aren't bad - there are still a lot of good spells in there. Here is the list if anyone cares:

    Cantrips: Druidcraft, Guidance, Poison Spray, Produce Flame
    1st: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, Healing Word, Purify Food and Drink, Speak with Animals, Thunderwave
    2nd: Beast Sense, Find Traps, Lesser Restoration, Protection from Poison
    3rd: Call Lightning, Conjure Animals, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Plant Growth, Protection from Energy, Speak with Plants
    4th: Blight, Conjure Minor Elementals, Dominate Beast, Giant Insect, Grasping Vine
    5th: Antilife Shell, Commune with Nature, Contagion, Geas, Mass Cure Wounds, Tree Stride
    6th: Conjure Fey, Heal, Transport via Plants
    7th: Fire Storm, Mirage Arcane
    8th: Animal Shapes, Tsunami
    9th: Storm of Vengeance
    Archdruid, 20: Unlimited wild shapes. You can freshen up your wild shape as you like, giving you more flexibility. Not the best of capstones, but decent. Better if you're using Stealth, for the ability to cast without using components.


    Spoiler: Moon Druid
    Show
    Moon druid rundown

    Druidic, 1: You know the secret language of the druids. Canít hurt, but not a big deal.

    Spellcasting, 1: This is where most of your versatility comes from. Spells will be a far more powerful tool than Wild Shape for the better part of your career, even with the great bonuses to wild shape you get as moon druid.

    Ritual Casting, 1: If a spell is marked ĎRitualí and you have it prepared (youíre not a wizard, Harry), you can cast it without expending a spell slot by adding 10 minutes to the casting time. Not bad, but wonít save you many spell slots on most days.

    Wild Shape, 2: Starts outrageously strong, then declines steadily. Gets another (lower) peak at 10 when you get elemental shapes, then it tapers off a bit. At the three final levels it peaks again.

    Combat Wild Shape, 2: Lets you assume a wild shape as a bonus action. Meshes well with spellcasting, and keeps you from wasting a round when surprised in caster form. Also lets you spend spell slots to heal your wild shape as a bonus action. It gives you something to spend your spell slots on in wild shape, and adds another layer to your damage sponge.

    Circle Forms, 2: This is the madness that lets you take brown bear shape from level 2, and keeps your wild shape furnished with new and stronger beast forms as you level.

    Ability Score Improvement, 4, 8, 12, 16, 19: There are many feats worth considering for you, and you are probably the least dependent on your ability scores of all classes and subclasses. So you should get some of those feats. But be wary of neglecting your spell DC. Casting is still more powerful than wild shape most of the time.

    Primal Strike, 6: Your wild shape attacks count as magical. A bear necessity (if youíll pardon me), or your damage dealing would collapse completely when faced with resistance or immunity to non-magical weapons.

    Elemental Wild Shape, 10: Four strong, fresh options for your wild shaping. The movement modes alone would make this ability worthwhile, but it comes with considerable combat potential as well. See under Elementals below for the options.

    Thousand Forms, 14: Cute, but rather meh by now. Better if you have a high charisma and Deception.

    Timeless Body, 18: From now on, you age at 1/10th the normal rate. Cool, but with few practical implications.

    Beast Spells, 18: You can now cast certain spells while in wild shape. Wonderful news for you, pairing the two most powerful features in your arsenal. Giant2005 has posted on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant2005 View Post
    This part inspired me to investigate a little bit, so I went and listed all of the Druid spells they are capable of casting while Wildshaped. They aren't bad - there are still a lot of good spells in there. Here is the list if anyone cares:

    Cantrips: Druidcraft, Guidance, Poison Spray, Produce Flame
    1st: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, Healing Word, Purify Food and Drink, Speak with Animals, Thunderwave
    2nd: Beast Sense, Find Traps, Lesser Restoration, Protection from Poison
    3rd: Call Lightning, Conjure Animals, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Plant Growth, Protection from Energy, Speak with Plants
    4th: Blight, Conjure Minor Elementals, Dominate Beast, Giant Insect, Grasping Vine
    5th: Antilife Shell, Commune with Nature, Contagion, Geas, Mass Cure Wounds, Tree Stride
    6th: Conjure Fey, Heal, Transport via Plants
    7th: Fire Storm, Mirage Arcane
    8th: Animal Shapes, Tsunami
    9th: Storm of Vengeance
    Archdruid, 20: Unlimited wild shapes. You can freshen up your wild shape as you like, giving you more flexibility, and unparalleled hit point recovery - a damage sponge of epic proportions. Probably the strongest capstone in the game. And then you get even more spells castable in wild shape when other components no longer apply.


    Spoiler: Shepherd Druid
    Show
    Shepherd druid rundown

    Druidic, 1: You know the secret language of the druids. Canít hurt, but not a big deal.

    Spellcasting, 1: This is where most of your power and options come from.

    Ritual Casting, 1: If a spell is marked ĎRitualí and you have it prepared (youíre not a wizard, Harry), you can cast it without expending a spell slot by adding 10 minutes to the casting time. Not bad, but wonít save you many spell slots on most days.

    Wild Shape, 2: Iconic, fluffy, versatile. Gives more options (movement, stealth, ability scores), and can be used for some fighting in the low to mid levels.

    Speech of the Woods, 2: All-day, every day Speak with Animals, and you learn the Sylvan language. The latter is annoying, in that you should really have learned this at level 1, when it is so important to your circle. So if you did, you just wasted a language. That aside, an extra language never hurts, but the real use here is the ability to converse with animals. This means your conjured allies can more easily report back to you, and (depending on the campaign world) it gives you access to a huge number of NPCs that most characters canít interact meaningfully with. And itís fluffy as four-letter-word.

    Spirit Totem, 2: Now this is the stuff. The Bear spirit is of course good for battle, particularly ones where thereís grappling and shoving going on. The Hawk is better for small fights, as itís restricted by your one reaction per round. The advantage on Perception checks would be a lot better if the duration wasnít so short. The Unicorn spirit gives a very similar bonus to Perception, but only to notice opponents. The unicorn temporarily turns you into a very capable group healer, scaling fully with your spell advancement. You will have to ask your DM how this interacts with Goodberry and Healing Spirit, because it could be pretty wild.
    The bear and unicorn spirits work better the more allies you have, so the more the merrier. The whole thing is also bonus action based, which makes it work well with most of your spells.

    Ability Score Improvement, 4, 8, 12, 16, 19: Youíll probably want to up your wisdom score to 20, and there are some feats well worth taking for druids. See the spoiler ĎFeatsí below for options on that.

    Mighty Summoner, 6: Buffs up your wall of meat with extra hp, and allows them to deal damage as magical weapons, bypassing the most common resistance and a rare immunity. If you want to make the most of this ability, Giant Bats are CR ľ, but have 4 hit dice each, for 64 extra hit points on a regular Conjure Animals casting.

    Guardian Spirit, 10: Having your Spirit Totem up heals your conjured animals and fey over time. This adds another layer of resilience to your minionmancy, making it cheaper in spell slots to maintain them, and more feasible to use them at higher levels. You may want to look into pulling injured summons out of the frontline (with Disengage actions if necessary) so they can be healed, while fresh ones press the attack.

    Faithful Summons, 14: When you go down to zero hp or get incapacitated, you gain a super version of conjure animals that requires no concentration (as you just lost the capacity to concentrate). This particular ability sits badly with me, in that it seems to be begging for abuse. If youíre down to a few hp anyway after a fight, why not ask your fighter buddy to whack you so you can activate these excellent summons? Or maybe you drop your shield and step into melee near the end of a fight? That is stupid and weird, which is not always enough to prevent it from being tried.
    That said, thereís no doubt that this adds to your survival rate, and puts in a useful dampening field in what is likely a crunch moment. Itís even a laudable, fluffy concept. My problem is that this ability gets much better if you use it in counterintuitive ways.

    Timeless Body, 18: From now on, you age at 1/10th the normal rate. Cool, but with few practical implications.

    Beast Spells, 18: You can now cast certain spells while in wild shape. Not bad, at least you can use your wild shape to add an additional layer of defences via movement and a small bag of hp. You may want to pick shapes with a language, so you can command your conjured minions.
    Giant 2005 posted about this in another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant2005 View Post
    This part inspired me to investigate a little bit, so I went and listed all of the Druid spells they are capable of casting while Wildshaped. They aren't bad - there are still a lot of good spells in there. Here is the list if anyone cares:

    Cantrips: Druidcraft, Guidance, Poison Spray, Produce Flame
    1st: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, Healing Word, Purify Food and Drink, Speak with Animals, Thunderwave
    2nd: Beast Sense, Find Traps, Lesser Restoration, Protection from Poison
    3rd: Call Lightning, Conjure Animals, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Plant Growth, Protection from Energy, Speak with Plants
    4th: Blight, Conjure Minor Elementals, Dominate Beast, Giant Insect, Grasping Vine
    5th: Antilife Shell, Commune with Nature, Contagion, Geas, Mass Cure Wounds, Tree Stride
    6th: Conjure Fey, Heal, Transport via Plants
    7th: Fire Storm, Mirage Arcane
    8th: Animal Shapes, Tsunami
    9th: Storm of Vengeance
    Archdruid, 20: Unlimited wild shapes. You can freshen up your wild shape as you like, giving you more flexibility. Not the best of capstones, but decent. Better if you're using Stealth, for the ability to cast without using components.


    Cantrips
    Your choice of cantrips is considerably dependent on how many you have. At level 1, the base number is 2, which increases gradually until it reaches 4 at level 10. Land druids get a bonus cantrip at level 2. With eight cantrips in the PHB and ten in XGtE to choose from, you need to weigh the pros and cons and choose ones that will fit your needs.
    Moon druids will be less dependent on attack cantrips, especially early on. They will still want one (or even two) from around level 7, depending on their preferences. Moon druids are also much more likely to spend their concentration on long-term buff spells, making Concentration cantrips less attractive to them.
    Other druids with no racial weapon proficiencies should pick an attack cantrip to start with, and maybe add another at some point. The second one should be useful in getting around resistances or immunities, likely to be a big problem. A different means of delivery (ranged vs. melee, attack roll vs. saving throw) can also be covered with a second attack cantrip.
    Elves and hobgoblins can usually wait a little before picking offensive cantrips, and rely on a good dexterity (if they have that) and racial proficiencies to deal decent damage at-will at least until level 5 (or even longer if their dex is high enough).
    Spoiler: Cantrips
    Show
    Control Flames (EEPC, XGtE): Cool, but not that useful cantrip. It requires some non-magical flame no larger than 5í on a side to have an effect. If you deal with fire hazards a lot, this grows in usefulness, but you do have other options that can extinguish flames or cause them. If you use fire to light your way, Control Flame can 'double' the 'area' of bright and dim light, which is something to ask your DM about.

    Create Bonfire (EEPC, XGtE): Comparable to Produce Flame, with better range, which is nice. Save rather than to-hit is not usually good, but depends on the target. But it can only target enemies on the ground, it requires concentration, and it doesnít give you movable light like Produce Flame.
    If your group has a good and action economically cheap way to move enemies about, Create Bonfire can do more damage, as it deals its damage every time someone moves into the square. Thorn Whip springs to mind. Though Crawford seems to indicate that the damage is only applied if the target moves under its own power.

    Druidcraft: General purpose cantrip. The most significant mechanical abilities are lighting or snuffing out small bonfires and torches; and making a magical imitation of a natural sound. High in versatility (and fluff), low on punch.

    Frostbite (EEPC, XGtE): Damage and debuff cantrip. The targeted save is a bit of a bother (constitution), and the damage amount is small, and the type not very reliable. Still, for a druid this could make an interesting attack cantrip combined with Produce Flame. At least Frostbite has better range than any of the PHB druid cantrips.

    Guidance: If it werenít for the need for concentration to use this, it would be a must-have. It grants a small bonus to skill checks, giving it out-of-battle use, as long as you have concentration free and can cast spells - i.e. in caster form or free to drop wildshape. It's better for Dreams and Land druids, because they do not use concentration on long duration spells so often, spend less time wild shaped, and can feel more free to drop a wild shape if they do have it on.

    Gust (EEPC, XGtE): The control effect of this cantrip is interesting, but limited to medium or smaller creatures. It is also limited by a mere 30í range. Not the worst of the EE Ďdo something with an elementí cantrips, but not a shining light either. Presumably, this effect should be able to accomplish more than the rules indicate, such as blowing out small fires, or perhaps (if used as a ready action) affect a missile attack. But youíll have to ask the DM.

    Infestation (XGtE): Low damage, with the least reliable damage type, at medium range (30í) and an unfortunate delivery method (Con save). May grant the occasional spectacular success by making people run over cliffs or into lava (depending on the interpretation of Ďblockedí), but more unlikely than usual, since you donít control the control. Infestation only has a small chance of breaking up enemy formations or letting you get away without provoking an opportunity attack. First the target must miss its save, then you must roll a useful direction.
    Main advantage is creepiness factor, if you like that sort of thing.

    Magic Stone (EEPC, XGtE): A ranged version of Shillelagh with a few differences. It does deal one point less damage on a normal hit. Early on, this is probably the best ranged attack cantrip on the druid list (60í range, only shillelagh deals more damage, magical bludgeoning is very reliable), but its damage scales only with your wisdom. Thus it is a poor choice in the long run.
    Exactly what happens when a Magic Stone is used with a sling isnít specified. Do you use dex to hit? Do you get disadvantage to hit between 30 and 120 feet range? Ask your DM.

    Mending: Quite situational, but good when it comes up. If your group often deals with things getting broken, this could be a very useful option. Maybe you use a homebrew critical hit or fumble mechanic, which can break equipment. Or the DM focuses on the wear and tear of adventuring. It can also be used to leave fewer clues during breaking and entering, for instance.

    Mold Earth (EEPC, XGtE): Too specific in its uses to be really worth it. Two 5í squares of difficult terrain (canít enemies just jump them?) or being able to draw in earth (get some coloured chalk) arenít very enticing. The digging effect might be something, but how often do you really need to dig? And canít you pack a spade, which can presumably also handle earth that isnít Ďlooseí?
    Certain people do like the digging aspect very much, as I've been informed at very great length and insistence. If you are a digger, be sure to ask your DM exactly how s/he interprets 'loose earth', and how the cantrip will do with mud, pebbles, rocks, plant roots and similar. If the DM is sufficiently liberal, also with allowing you to stack your diggings, you can quickly make them regret their leniency by having more dig power than most modern machinery (125 cubic feet of dirt per six seconds), and dragging piles of dirt with you everywhere you go with this cantrip, and for its use.

    Poison Spray: Attack cantrip. It deals the highest damage of cantrips, but at a very poor range, and with a damage type that is quite unreliable. Between one in five and one in four creatures in the MM are outright immune to it. If you pick Poison Spray, you should have some other way to deal damage for all those times it won't work, and you should be sturdy enough to spend time so close to the enemy, or fast enough to dash in and out as needed.

    Produce Flame: Attack and lighting cantrip. Deals mediocre damage at 30í and can be used to light your way or set fire to flammable stuff. This is likely your go-to offensive cantrip, feeble though it is. Don't neglect to pack some ranged weapon, because fire immunity is not that uncommon, and 30í is really not very far.

    Resistance: As it requires concentration and deals with combat, this is not a very useful or reliable choice. Better for Dreams and Land druids who do not use concentration on long duration spells so often.

    Primal Savagery (XGtE): Acid damage is one of the better damage types (and not usual for druids). Spell attack roll is a good delivery method, and the damage is quite good for a druid cantrip. But it sucks you have to deliver it in melee Ė generally speaking, caster forms do not belong within reach of enemy weapons. So Primal Savagery would be for emergencies (like Silence spells, as PS doesn't require a verbal component) and perhaps mopping up.
    Compared to Shillelagh, which serves a similar niche, Primal Savagery is overall better out of the box, at least from level 5 on. But you can invest in Shillelagh to make that more worthwhile. Primal Savagery doesnít even benefit from Spell Sniper, because its range is Self. So if you pick it, you know what you're getting.

    Shape water (EEPC, XGtE): Like the rest of the Ďcontrol an elementí cantrips, it is flavourful, but rather lacks real uses. Freezing water in a five-foot cube could be an important part of many a zany scheme involving temperature, time delays (when it unfreezes after an hour), flotation, and so on and on, but for traversing water it would not actually make it very easy. Though able to buoy up even a heavy adventurer with a lot of gear, such a cube would be extremely unstable in the water.

    Shillelagh: Allows you to use wisdom as your fighting stat, making this a great choice for a melee druid (which probably means multiclassing). Non-melee druids might have it for emergencies and mop-up. Good damage at low levels, but scales poorly or not at all. Very reliable damage type, but melee range. You will need some way to attack more than once in a round to make it passable at higher levels, and you have to be sturdy enough to stand on the front lines in caster form.
    Shillelagh on a club should allow you to wield it in the off-hand with another light weapon. Normally a shield would be preferable, but sometimes you donít have that option, or just want the extra offensive oomph.

    Thorn Whip: 30í melee attack (!), dealing humdrum damage of a very reliable type (magical piercing), and drawing the target 10í closer. Generally speaking, druids donít want their caster form to be particularly close to their opponents. But if you can accept this extra danger, this is an interesting option. Itís the only PHB control cantrip available to druids. It may be able to bring about the occasional spectacular success, pulling enemies into dangerous terrain, off cliffs, into reach of your party's Sentinel and/or Mage Slayer feat'ed melee, etc. The better your movement, the better you'll be able to manoeuvre to use the control effect to its maximum. If you are flying or levitating, some DMs might even let you pull people straight up for a bit of fall damage, but ask rather than assume. Regardless, flight can be very useful combined with this cantrip for pulling people off ledges and the like.

    Thunderclap (EEPC, XGtE): The good news is that AoE damage is hard to come by in cantrip form, and that thunder damage is a reliable damage type. The bad news is that you use this from inside melee range, it makes a loud bang which can bring another combat encounter before this one is over, and you have to be careful not to hit your friends.
    Thunderclap can make sense as your second offensive cantrip, useful in mopping up and certain emergencies.


    Skills & Background
    In 5e, skills are very dependent on the DM. They decide most of what skills can and can't do. I've tried discussing these skills from what I can be certain of rules-wise, and what I expect to be average for games. The better you know your table's ways and your DM's way of thinking, the better you'll be able to judge skills. For example, I tank Medicine hard, finding it to be nearly a complete waste, especially for a druid. But if your table is heavy on medical stuff and explore diseases and illness routinely, this skill will come to the front more often, and may indeed be key to many situations.
    Also, never forget that anyone can attempt to use any skill and most tools. Whether you're proficient or not makes at most the difference of +6 to the roll, and most of the time much less Ė unless your DM decides otherwise and sets DCs individually or gives advantage or disadvantage depending on whether youíre proficient, as Iíve seen a few people argue they should.
    Spoiler: Skills and Background
    Show
    Herbalism Kit: You get proficiency in this thrown in with your skills. This can be used during downtime to brew healing potions. See PHB p. 187 for details on crafting, but basically you can craft a healing potion in ten days for 25gp. This is different from the optional Crafting a Magic Item downtime activity in the DMG (p. 128), and the much more lenient optinal rule in XGtE (p. 130 for healing potions).

    Arcana: The best lore skill in the game, it deals with anything magical or extraplanar. It's also the skill you use to activate scrolls of spells otherwise too high level to cast (DC 10 + spell level), which may be a big deal depending on how many scrolls there are in the campaign. It even governs the detection and handling of many magical traps.

    Animal Handling: While highly fluffy for a druid, you can ride well enough without proficiency. In dealing with animals in general, you have excellent spells for it, should it become necessary, and you should have ample wisdom to use it even without proficiency.

    Insight: Rather campaign dependent, but any time you spend with intrigue, this is gold. It may also be useful for spying on people while scouting.

    Medicine: Stabilize the dying with a check, and diagnose disease. A Healerís Kit will stabilize the dying without a check and costs 5gp for ten uses. Your spells include Detect Poison and Disease and Lesser Restoration, so you can diagnose and treat disease out of the box.

    Nature: Hard to run from, as this is pretty much your shtick. Unfortunately, it doesnít do much, and there is some overlap with Survival. It is possibly the weakest of the lore skills, as it tells you so much obvious lore. If you, the player, donít know much about these things, this makes the skill more useful. Likewise, if the campaignís natural world is very different from ours, being good at this becomes more worthwhile.

    Perception: Youíll be making a lot of these checks, so this is a good choice, even if it is a bit boring. It also helps avoiding ambushes, giving it clear combat potential.

    Religion: There can be some pretty strange facts you can pick up with religion, though it is not as commonly called on as Arcana. Ask your DM if knowledge of undead belongs here. Itís a long shot, but it might, and would make the skill more useful.

    Survival: Better than Nature, as it does some practical things for you, like tracking. While not generally a skill I'd rate as blue, the average druid should have some sort of skill like this. Since you can only wild shape into beasts you've seen, being skilled at Survival could expand your options via background, downtime, and being aware of the opportunity when you come across tracks from beasts you haven't seen yet.

    Other skills
    Remember that when you already have a skill, and it is then given again by a background, you get to choose any skill you want to replace it. The same goes with tool proficiencies; you can pick a different tool if your background gives you one you already know. Tools arenít nearly as likely to come up as skills, but if they do, Thieves' Tools are the most mechanically useful set of tools.
    You can create your own background, which basically lets you get the exact skill/tool proficiencies or languages you want, as long as you can work out the fluff. Working with your DM, you can even make custom features.
    Out of the box, Folk Hero (animal handling, survival), Guild Artisan (insight, persuasion), Noble (history, persuasion), Outlander (athletics, survival), Sage (arcana, history) and Sailor (athletics, perception) give interesting and at least semi-useful skill proficiencies. Skills are the most important long term, mechanical effect of backgrounds.

    Acrobatics/Athletics: These can be used to resist shoves and grapples, and may come into play a lot depending on your gaming groupís style. Athletics is generally the superior of the two skills. It can be used to make shoves and grapples as well as resist them, and it also deals with climbing, jumping and swimming. But if you (remember wild shape) have better dex than str, acrobatics may be the better choice for you between the two. If your DM is a particular fan of fighting on rooftops or in icy conditions, say, then Acrobatics does have the use of helping you with keeping your balance.

    Deception/Intimidation/Persuasion: Your charisma is not likely to be high unless you planned to take a social skill. One of them (depending on your groupís style) along with Insight can let you be party face. I generally rate Persuasion higher, as people don't usually react so poorly to being not persuaded as they do to feeling they've been lied to or threatened. Often you can try Persuasion, and if it fails, you can fall back on Deception ("Okay, the real reason I want you to do this...") and then Intimidation ("Are you calling me a liar?!").

    History: Depending on the campaign, this can be of little use or of more. It may be useful for such things as recognizing important nobles and their coat of arms. It might help adjudicate military matters. It could let you recall facts about a cityís trade and practices. And many other things. But on the other hand, these subjects may not be seen as Ďhistoryí by the DM, or just wonít be important in the campaign. Still, going about in ancient ruins, the occasional History check is bound to crop up.

    Investigation: Certain traps may be detected with Investigation, giving it a definite and regular use. You may not be the designated trapfinder, but you are likely to do at least some scouting.
    Beyond that, all manner of clues and bits of information can be picked up and interpreted with Investigation, so in some campaigns this will see a lot of use.

    Performance: Mostly for social uses, this is a skill youíd normally leave to the bard. Being able to perform oratory may be useful on occasion (political speeches, trials, talking to troops, etc.), and perhaps providing some entertainment or distraction with a musical number or some storytelling will come up. But I wouldnít bet on it.

    Sleight of Hand: If adventurers want someoneís stuff, they usually just kill them and take it. Sleight of Hand is very useful for getting into trouble with the law or other important forces or factions, and can quickly cause a whole session to become a study in going nowhere fast, particularly when it involves new players. Some groups find this sort of thing endlessly hilarious, or so I'm told.
    When it comes to secreting stuff about your person, you can just pick the item up and wild shape while absorbing the item into your body. No guard will find it, though your companions may have to explain what that animal is doing there.

    Stealth: Some druids rely on stealth, both in and out of wild shape. Halflings and elves may be particularly interested in picking up this skill due to their high dex and special stealth capabilities. See under 'Other Skills' earlier in this spoiler for ways to pick it up.
    Combining Pass without Trace (a 2nd level spell) and an innocuous wild shape, druids have the potential to be among the stealthiest PCs around.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-12-05 at 04:43 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 3

    Basic Equipment
    If youíre going to buy your equipment at level 1, you get 2d4x10gp. You could ask your DM if you get further money to reflect your choice of background (5-25gp), although by RAW you don't get this if you buy your equipment.
    What you need to consider:
    Spoiler: Equipping a Druid at Level 1
    Show
    Druidic Focus: You need this to cast spells with a Material component. Cheapest options are 1gp, the most expensive 10gp.

    Offensive melee: If you have the Shillelagh cantrip, all you need is a 1sp Club or 2sp Quarterstaff and youíre set here. Even if you donít, you may not want to spend much more, maybe the 1 or or 2 gp for a Spear (Str high or equal to Dex) or a Dagger (Dex high). A dagger is a good thing to have, anyway. If youíre an elf, consider spending the 10gp on a Short Sword for Dex to melee fighting. If youíre not an elf, still have better Dex than Str, and have enough money to spare, the Scimitar (25gp) has the finesse quality as well.

    Offensive ranged: Even your longest ranged PHB cantrips go a mere 30í, so if nothing else you should get the lowly Sling (1sp) and a Pouch (5sp) for 20 sling bullets (4cp). If your dex is good enough, a ranged weapon will generally do better for you at least until level 5.
    If youíre an elf, you are proficient in stronger ranged weapons: Shortbow (25gp) and Longbow (50gp); or Hand Crossbow (75gp). The bows use arrows from a Quiver (1gp), the crossbow uses bolts from a Case (1gp). 20 pieces of ammo for 1gp for either. If you can afford it after purchasing equipment, you can get one of those options. They may well outperform your cantrips for quite a while, so even if you canít afford them now, keep them in mind for later.

    Armour and shield: Depending on your pecuniary capabilities and your Dex, you will want to pick 10gp Hide (the obvious starter option), 45gp Studded Leather (for the rich and agile) or simple Leather (for the really agile, dex 18+, who can't afford studded leather). A shield is 10gp and well worth it. Even if you intend to use a bow, you want a shield in your pack. But if youíre that hard up for cash, you can leave it off for now.
    If you have access to stuff from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, look at page 121. For 75gp, you may be able to do something for your AC with a suit of spiked armour, albeit at the cost of disadvantage on Stealth. Maybe something for the future, when you can wild shape for stealth. The description implies you can get spikes made of something other than metal.

    Fire/light: The Produce Flame cantrip may be all you need for now. If you donít have that: A tinderbox (5sp) is a must if you donít have the Druidcraft cantrip (which can also light small fires). If you donít have darkvision, you need to consider buying lamps or lanterns (5sp to 10gp for those options) and oil (1sp per pint) to fuel them. If youíre really hard up for money, torches cost 1cp a piece. Even if you have darkvision, you could consider packing some candles (1cp) at least Ė darkvision is considered dim light and you canít distinguish colours with it.

    Food: With the Goodberry spell on your prepared spell list, you donít really need food in your pack. But itís good to have some for emergencies, to hand over as a gesture of goodwill, to give to animals, etc. Rations are 5sp per day.

    Rope: Someone has to get it. Rope plays a role in many a zany scheme, and has any number of uses for the practically minded. Hemp rope is cheap and heavy (1 gp per 50í), silk rope is expensive and light (10gp per 50í).

    Healerís Kit: 5gp for ten uses, make sure you never run out. This kit stabilizes a dying character with an action with no roll needed. Make sure the whole party can find this in your luggage quickly, just in case youíre the one who needs to be stabilized. Chance to roleplay, too.

    Herbalism Kit: Youíre proficient with this, so spare a thought for it. You likely wonít need it until you want to start producing healing potions. But if you have the money and the carrying capacity, you might as well get a kit now. 5gp.

    Beast of burden: For 8gp you can get a donkey or mule, capable of carrying 420 lbs. Maybe the party should consider buying one or more as a group. Useful for large hauls, more so when some of your party are incapable of transporting themselves.

    More stuff could certainly be bought, but if you have all the above taken care of, you should be all-right. For a discussion of magical items, go to post 10.


    Feats
    If your group plays with feats, there are some things that need to be interpreted for your druid. According to the wild shape rules (PHB p. 66-67) you keep features from your class, and this includes feats. But how exactly? Resilient, for instance, gives +1 to the score chosen for it. Does your new animal form sport an extra point in that score, then? How will that affect its combat stats? You will need to talk this out with your DM.
    Dreams, Land and Shepherd druids will be casting more spells that are affected by their Wisdom (spell to hit and save DC), and as such they prioritize advancing ability higher than moon druids. Moon druids have half their stats switched during wild shape, and are more attracted to feats in the low-mid levels. But they need their spells to keep up when their wild shapes are at their lowest ebb, and anyway Beast Spells (letting you cast spells in wild shape) comes online at level 18.
    Spoiler: Feats
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    Alert: The initiative boost is good for anyone, the rest is just gravy. And good gravy, too. If you are the party scout, this feat inches into blue territory, helping you to survive if you get found out.

    Athlete: Moon druids could consider this feat if their forms get the ability bonus from feats. The rest should really be covered between your wild shapes and spells, but it can't hurt. Other druids are unlikely to find much of any use here.

    Actor: This feat is out of order! In my PHB, too, so now you must suffer the same! Muahaha! Anyway, if you're picking this feat you're doing it to branch out from the usual druid roles. You'd think being able to turn into an animal would be enough for you, but nooo!

    Bountiful Luck (XGtE): If you position yourself safely, you won't have much use for your Reaction, so lending your Lucky trait to someone else is pretty good. You also don't make many critical to-hit rolls. If you like, you can even use this ability to help out a conjured minion.

    Charger: This requires use of your bonus action, which means you can't use it with a lot of otherwise charging forms Ė those who activate a second attack if their first hits when they charge. Only those that add bonus damage to charges (Giant Boar and Rhinoceros are the obvious MM beneficiaries; the Elk can get a little too, though only making their charge about as damaging as their hooves) get anything from this feat. In general this is too little, too seldom to be worth considering, even for damage hungry moon druids.

    Crossbow Expert: While certainly not a bad feat as such, it works very poorly with druids. You'd do better to focus on spells than trying to learn to use a crossbow in the first place.

    Defensive Duelist: Scimitars happen to be eligible for this feat, and having a miniature version of the Shield spell (for one attack only, and only in melee) that could save you a Concentration save might be worthwhile. But what are you doing in melee? You're not even wielding a Shillelagh!

    Dragon Fear (XGtE): The +1 to constitution is the obvious option. Using this ability may make a lot of sense, particularly at higher levels, when the scaling of your breath attack leaves it rather behind the damage curve. Still, it seems to be a fairly desperate thing to do, when you could probably use the action to turn into an animal and flee. That it depends on charisma also doesn't lend itself well to druids.

    Dragon Hide (XGtE): Adding +1 to con is the obvious choice. Base 13 AC is as good as +1 studded leather. Unfortunately, you're unlikely as dragonborn to have the dex to take full advantage. The claws may persuade your DM that you get to use your own proficiency bonus for Claw attacks in wild shape, which may give a small bonus to hit.

    Drow High Magic (XGtE): Detect Magic and Dispel Magic are already on your list. Levitate can be useful to evade melee attackers at low level, but requires Concentration. And using charisma for casting is sad. Not exactly a uselss feat, but it does seem to give you more of what you have rather than new, useful stuff.

    Dual Wielder: This is pretty much a trap, and not just for druids. Except for silly things like dual wielding lances, you do better just advancing your attack stat. And why wouldn't you want to wear a shield? Even for investing in making Shillelagh viable, there are far better things you can do.

    Dungeon Delver: Unless your DM is a fan of very dynamic traps, this is not of much use to you. You can deal with traps in many ways, including minions and spells and wild shapes, and not least sending the rogue with Dungeon Delver up front.

    Durable: While the +1 to constitution is nice, you have better options for recovering hit points than this. Comes very close to being utterly useless, but I just might take this in a corner case, like having uneven con, maxed wis, and every other stat an even number. If I already had Resilient.

    Dwarven Fortitude (XGtE): You probably won't be taking a lot of Dodge actions in battle, even with this feat. As a druid, you're a little more free to do so, as the loss of one casting of a druid cantrip is hardly a large blow to your group. But you're also supposed to be safely taken care of behind the lines. Being able to spend your hit dice without taking a short rest is generally an interesting ability, but druids have other ways to heal, particularly out of combat.

    Elemental Adept: You might consider taking this for fire. It is more readily available as damage from druid spells than any of the other options. And fire is commonly resisted, so there should be something to gain if you use a lot of fire spells. If you cast many cold spells (perhaps you're an arctic land druid with the Frostbite cantrip, or some multiclass druid), this is an even better choice, with more resists.

    Elven Accuracy (XGtE): +1 wisdom (the obvious pick) and special advantage to any advantage on dex or spell attack rolls. You'll be making few critical attack rolls, so that takes something away, but some of your spells and abilities do let you get advantage on attack rolls (anything that Restrains opponents). This should only be an option if it happens to fit your ability score advancement scheme very well, or if you're trying to build an archer druid (likely with some multiclassing).

    Fade Away (XGtE): +1 to dex is better than +1 int. A panic button that turns you invisible on being attacked. If you are about to get swarmed or shot at by a regiment of archers, this could save you, and allow you to get to safety. Wild shaping doesn't break the invisibility, nor does non-offensive spellcasting. It's a decent feat, but only if it fits exactly into the way you want to advance your ability scores. I wouldn't build for this feat, but I might pick it if things happen to turn in its favour.

    Fey Teleportation: +1 int or cha is a tossup, and neither is a major benefit. Learning Sylvan may be useful for druidic social interaction, if you haven't picked it up yet (and if you have, you'd be right to have done so, and now you'd get punished by wasting a language - that annoys me). But then you 'learn' Misty Step, and get to cast it once per rest for free. If learning it means you can now cast it with your own spell slots (ask your DM), then this feat is awfully tempting to anyone who doesn't have access to a bonus action teleportation (10th level Dreams druids and 3rd level Coastal Land druids do). Even so, I'd only take it if I had an uneven score in int or cha already, or if I was in a group where Misty Step would make a particularly large boon.

    Flames of Phlegetos (XGtE): Adding to int or charisma is the same amount of poor. A small bonus (about .4 points of damage per d6) to fire spell damage (not so compatible with Elemental Adept) is rather minor, though it must be said that fire spells are common in the druid list. The wreath of flames doesn't scale, and you are likely hoping it won't come into effect, though it is cool - no wait. Well, a positive word about aesthetics that doesn't imply coldness of temperature.

    Grappler: The strength requirement sucks horribly, and in caster form you don't want to be grappling. That said, wild shaping druids can do some interesting things with grapple, so it may not be completely weird to pick this. I wouldn't, though.

    Healer: This is highly dependent on when you take it. If you get it early (and play through those levels), it's a reasonable feat, freeing up spell slots from healing. However, it scales poorly, and there will often be higher priority feats you want first.
    Some people donít notice right off that it can be used on a given target once per rest, so I'll just note that here.

    Heavily Armoured: This isn't something you're likely to plan for. But suppose your group finds a magical suit of plate mail, which happens to be made of some material other than metal. And you've found no magical leather armour. And you are a dwarf, or for some reason have 14 or more strength. And nobody else in the group wants that suit of armour. And your dex isn't exactly good. Well, then this feat might actually improve your AC by as much as 7 before enchantments. Pretty wild, but as I said: not something you'd plan for.

    Heavy Armor Master: You could continue weaving the outlandish tale from the Heavily Armored feat, but let's face it, you're reading about optimizing a druid. You're not picking this feat even if you meet the requirements.

    Infernal Constitution (XGtE): +1 con, resistance to cold and poison damage and advantage on saves against poison (or perhaps only against effects that give you the Poisoned condition? Ask your DM). Poison damage is common in the MM, and cold about half as common. Between them, it's a pretty decent amount of stuff to be resistant to (and you already have fire). But then again, you're not a frontliner, you may become immune to poison at level 10 (land druid, while moon druid elemental forms are immune to poison), and you have spells that let you become resistant to cold and poison. So it'd be unusual for a druid to really consider this feat.

    Inspiring Leader: At first glance this is poor for you. But if you like to conjure beasts, elementals and fey, this could give them some extra durability. Pixies and Sprites could particularly benefit from this, frail as the poor little buggers are. Since these are temporary hit points, it works with all the Shepherd's circle abilities.

    Keen Mind: They worked hard to make this worthwhile. For druids, they failed. Okay, to be fair, the 'remember anything within the past month' thing could be useful in certain games, especially if you can't be bothered to take notes. But why are you playing the class that requires the most bookkeeping, then?

    Lightly Armored: You're already profcient.

    Linguist: In a world without magic, this might well have its place. You're druid, the world is full of magic.

    Lucky: This is an interesting feat on any character, an extra panic button to press. You will likely feel less pressure than most character types (as you're usually ensconced in a wild shape or guarded by your party's melee), but itís still a nice feature.

    Mage Slayer: If you meet many spellcasters, this could be a worthy choice for wild shapes. In general, Iíd leave this to the all-out melee, though.

    Magic Initiate: For casting, you might pick this for some more cantrips and maybe a useful first level spell. If you pick cleric, you can get Sacred Flame or Toll the Dead as a decent attack cantrip with your strong wisdom to back it up. Word of Radiance is likewise strictly better than Thunderclap. They are much more reliable than fire or poison damage from your druid cantrips. For other classes, you may want to pick something that does not involve saves or attack rolls, as you are unlikely to have sufficient Int or Cha to back it up (though Booming Blade and Greenflame Blade can be made to work with Wisdom, sorta, by using them with Shillelagh).
    For a first level spell, Find Familiar could be useful throughout your career, or Feather Fall if you worry about losing a flying form. Look around, there are a lot of options here. You could even pick druid as your spell list if you're desperate for more druid cantrips. Certain first level spells (like Absorb Elements, Entangle, Faerie Fire and Goodberry) never go out of style.

    Martial Adept: Hmm, Evasive Footwork, maybe? No, not worth it.

    Medium Amor Master: A very unlikely choice, but in caster form with a suit of non-metal medium armour (such as dragon scale mail) and dex 16, this can actually be a good feat.

    Mobile: Generally, you should have pretty decent mobility between wild shaping and spells like Longstrider. But there are cases where another 10í of movement can make a great deal of difference - more so the less movement you already have. Being able to avoid opportunity attacks by making an attack yourself can be nice for wild shapes, or if you want to use melee cantrips but don't want to get hit back (or combined with Booming Blade somehow). If you're in melee with a fighting wild shape, soaking up attacks should be what you expect to do, anyway.

    Moderately Armored: You're already proficient with medium armor.

    Mounted Combatant: While people sometimes regale us at the forum with tales of how someone with this feat rode a Moon druid ([expletive deleted]), this really isn't a feat for druids.

    Observant: The 5-point bonus to passive perception is a great boon - if the DM uses (and lets you use) passive checks. If you scout ahead often, this goes double. The +1 to wisdom is the main reason this is an attractive feat, but only as long as it fits in your stat advancement scheme.

    Orcish Fury (XGtE): +1 to con and some minor offensive advantages with weapon attacks. This feat works best when you're in the frontline, hammering away with a weapon in hand, and as a druid, you probably won't be. But for the +con alone, it can't be rated an entire waste.

    Polearm Master: You can use this with Shillelagh on a quarterstaff for the occasional Reaction attack and some more regular Bonus Action attacks. The latter would (as per tweets from Crawford) deal d4+wis damage. With this investment, Shillelagh becomes a pretty decent attack cantrip for the amount of damage it can put out. But it retains the problem of being in melee, you're using up your bonus action and possibly your reaction, and you still cannot compete with expert damage dealers. To me the feat shores up something you won't be good at anyway (and likely has you fighting with a quarterstaff onehanded, which I think is rather silly)

    Prodigy (XGtE): Like Skilled, this has its uses. Getting double proficiency bonus in Perception or Stealth (or any other skill you want to be good at) is nothing to sniff at, if you rely on the skill to do your thing.

    Resilient: Taking this for Constitution is a good choice. Con is probably the most common saving throw made by spellcasters (and druids in particular), as it is made to maintain Concentration. This one actually gets better the higher level you are.

    Ritual Caster: You can already cast your prepared Ritual spells as rituals, but there are only so many. Wizard is the obvious choice if you take this feat (and you don't need int 13, though you might think so), with plenty of Ritual spells to choose from, and a better chance to add to your ritual book by copying from spellbooks. Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, and Find Familiar are all 1st level wizard spells worth considering. Getting Leomund's Tiny Hut, Rary's Telepathic Bond and Drawmij's Instant Summons are goals for the future.

    Savage Attacker: One of the few ways to up wild shape damage. Many forms attack only once per turn, and very few more than twice, so this affects a large percentage of their damage rolls. Be aware that the amount gained is mathematically not very much, but it is likely to feel pretty good at table.
    If I was playing a moon druid from 1 to 20, I wouldn't look twice at this feat, as there is too much time you're not using your wild shape for its offensive. But if I was playing one from 1 to 6, or for a limited time from 10 to 12, e.g., I'd be tempted to pick Savage Attacker.

    Second Chance (XGtE): Once per combat minor panic button, with +1 to con or dex? And it can save me from having to make a Concentration save? If it fits my attribute advancement scheme, I'll take it.

    Sentinel: For wild shapes, this is probably a good choice. When your job is to keep the enemy away from your partyís squishies, this feat is very good at just that.

    Sharpshooter: Even if a bow does well for you early in your career, there is no way it ends well if you pick this feat and go straight druid.

    Shield Master: The major part of this feat is the bonus action Shove when you take the Attack Action. The problem there is you probably don't have the strength to do much with it. Besides which, the Attack Action isn't what you'll be doing mostly, and you may want to try and stay out of melee. The other stuff can still come in handy, albeit quite situational. Being able to take a Reaction and maybe take no damage (and so no Concentration save) from an AoE attack is nice, though to make the most of it you need proficiency in dex saves.

    Skilled: Depending on what you want your character to be able to do, and what the partyís needs are, this could be a useful choice. See under Skills and Background above. Most PCs only have proficiency in four skills. Another three is rather a lot when you think of it like that.

    Skulker: On a stealthy druid, this may have its place. Dim light is what most darkvision works as, so the two work well together.

    Spell Sniper: Only some of the druid cantrips use attack rolls. The other spells don't. Slightly shoring up your cantrips with a feat is rather a waste.

    Squat Nimbleness (XGtE): +1 to dex, +5' foot speed, proficiency in Acrobatics or Athletics, and advantage on ability checks to escape grapples. It's a neat little package, and I might pick it up, if I wasn't proficient in either of those two skills. Having both seems redundant. Does the movement increase carry over to wild shape, DM?

    Svirfneblin Magic (EEPC): Holds up well compared to Magic Initiate, and the spells are not bad Ė though using Int as your casting stat. They are not generally covered by the druid list.

    Tavern Brawler: A better grappling feat than the Grappler feat, ironically. Most of the stuff is useless to the average druid, apart from the bonus to con, of course. If only your wild shape attacks were improvised weapons or unarmed strikes, then you could use your bonus action to grapple those you hit. Maybe a lenient DM will let that slide?

    Tough: The usefulness of this feat depends very much on how it is interpreted. If this adds 2 hp per level (and whose level, yours or the animalís?) to your wild shape, it may well be worth taking. The sage says it doesn't work that way. Then, it could still be worth taking, at least for druids with poor Con. It could mean something like +20% hp.

    War Caster: The advantage on those important saving throws to maintain concentration is the real thing here, especially so for Moon druids. Caster forms may also get some mileage out of the other bits, clearing up any issues about casting spells while using a shield.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Generally speaking it shouldn't be a problem, as you can sheathe or draw a weapon as part of your action. But if you want to have a particular (probably magical) thing in one hand both before and after casting, and a shield strapped on the other (and why wouldn't you want a shield?), you won't have to worry about needing a hand free, or ending up with an empty hand you'd rather were filled. This is very technical and borders on pedantry, and some DMs won't be bothered with it to begin with.
    You may want to consider taking Resilient first, if your proficiency bonus is big enough by the time. Advantage is approximately worth +3.3, meaning you'll likely take this feat before picking up Resilient, which gives you proficiency (+2 to +6 as you level). In the end, you're likely to want both, as they are good (if boring) options.

    Weapon Master: Some have speculated whether you could use this feat to become proficient in some wild shape attacks, and so use your own prof bonus over that of the animal's. Unfortunately, the feat only lets you pick simple or martial weapons, which animal attacks aren't. As for picking some weapons that are better than druid weapons, you could get some use out of this at the lowest levels, if your dex or str support your choice of weapons. But even your cantrips will quickly catch up or pass your weapons, so I wouldn't recommend it.

    Wood Elf Magic (XGtE): A fine feat, except it gives you a bunch of druid stuff that you already have, or decided not to pick. Very nearly a total waste, but since the spells are pretty good, the free casting and the freeing of space on the prepared list lifts it up from an outright waste. I still wouldn't pick it for a druid, though.


    The Roles of a Druid
    Being a full caster with some extra goodies tagged on, with low dependence on stats, druids are remarkably versatile. The druid can fill many, many roles with varying degrees of competence.
    Spoiler: The Roles of a Druid
    Show
    Battlefield Control and Debuff: Druids have quite good spells that accomplish these things, starting right at level one with Entangle and Faerie Fire. Often enough, druid BC spells also have a debuff or damage element (or even all three, see the Whirlwind spell in the Elemental Evil supplement for a particularly amusing example), but you will generally pay with your Concentration. There are a few non-Concentration BC spells (Speak with Plants funnily enough, and Plant Growth).

    Buffing: Most buff spells are Concentration spells, so buffing isnít what it used to be. But there are a handful or so non-Concentration buff spells in the druid list (like Longstrider, Freedom of Movement, and Regenerate), and several good Concentration buffs. For out of combat, Enhance Ability and Pass without Trace stand out.
    You can also buff indirectly, using conjured minions to do your Concentrating for you. While this limits your buffing options to what your minions can do, it is (partially at least) a way to get past the Concentration issue.
    Shepherd druidsí spirit totems are easy to fit into your action economy, recharge on short rests, and buff any ally close enough. This gives the shepherds a definite edge in buffing over the other druid circles.

    Damage Dealing: While druids do have some blasting spells in their arsenal (especially if you play with the Elemental Evil spells), druid damage spells often work rather slowly, or do less damage but with an additional effect. Consequently, druids can do some blasting, but their style is not generally as time efficient as stronger blaster classes.
    Wild shapes are generally mediocre damage dealers at best. There are notable exceptions (particularly moon druids at levels 2-4), and you can sometimes combine a damage over time spell with a wild shape, constituting a wild shapeís burst capacity. But in general the wild shapes do not compare well to expert at-will damage dealers, particularly if those get magical weapons.
    Druid combat cantrips are also mediocre at best in damage dealing.
    It seems that druids in general are designed to outlast opponents and gradually wear them down, rather than taking them out in quick bursts.
    There is one way druids can definitely compete on damage dealing, however, and thatís by minionmancy. See below.

    Damage Sponge: In general, and particularly at the right levels, the moon druid is an unparalleled stack of hit points (level 2 and level 20 being the most notorious - but mostly early on with plenty of options for wild shaping the highest CR they are capable of). It depends mostly on the wild shape forms available, but also on what spells you have to back them up with. Defensive buffs like Barkskin, Protection from Energy and Stoneskin can, when used at the right time, squeeze a lot of extra mileage out of those wild shape hit points. And to add to that, you can of course heal those extra hit points with bonus actions, though this should be done very judiciously. A spell cast is generally worth more than a few hp on a wild shape.
    Other druids need to have external damage sponges to be workable here. See under minionmancy below. Shepherds in particular have very absorbent sponges in their tool kit, while dreams druids have their bonus action healing.

    Face: While lacking Expertise for double proficiency, druids can still be decent party faces. Insight is a class skill, and you will have good wisdom to use it. Picking up Persuasion (or, if you prefer, Deception or Intimidate) shouldnít be too hard. You can also enhance your social skills with spells (Charm Person, Enhance Ability). While charisma is not a key ability for druids, you could invest in it easier than most classes that donít depend on charisma. Druids are not very stat dependent, especially moon druids.

    Healing and Restoration: Druids have access to spells that heal (some with splendid spell slot economy, like Goodberry and Healing Spirit), and most of those that remove conditions (Lesser and Greater Restoration, Dispel Magic). A group can generally get by on druid restoration. Moon druids are somewhat at a disadvantage as emergency healers, as any emergency is likely to see them in wild shape. Dreams druids get their Balm ability for quick healing, and Shepherds can use spirit totems to grant bonus hp or do extra healing with spells.
    Druids as healers could do with a backup healer in the party, or better still they could play that role to a Life Cleric. Generally speaking, the cleric does combat healing, while the druid heals between fights.

    Minionmancy: Druids make first rate minionmancers in 5e, competing only with wizards for the top spot. There are many spells in the druid list that can give you minions. Conjured allies are splendid spell slot economy and nicely versatile. The Conjure X spells are the obvious mainstays, and you can use Planar Binding on conjured elementals. Depending on your DM, you can also use spells like Animal Friendship, Charm Person and Awaken to round up some extra friends before the fighting begins.
    Land druids are slightly better minionmancers due to their expanded spell skills, while shepherd druids are all about the buffing of allies and minions. Shepherd druids can be overwhelmingly strong over a protracted adventuring day when their abilities get to shine the most (starting at level 6).

    Scouting/Stealth: Between innocuous wild shapes and Pass without Trace, every druid is an able infiltrator and scout from level 3. Having proficiency in Stealth, the Skulker feat, and/or a stealthy race can stretch this further. Land circle spells like Invisibility and Gaseous Form are also possibilities. Dealing with traps and locks may be a bit of a bother, though bypassing them can often be done (very small or supple wild shape; shapes that can burrow, earth glide, fly or climb; using Stoneshape spells; etc.). You can use conjured minions (flying and invisible pixies or sprites are quite good) and charmed or otherwise friendly beasts (and maybe Beast Sense) to do your scouting for you. Shepherds do the latter particularly easily, being able to converse freely with animals. And finally you have a few divination spells that can do a lot of scouting, like Scrying and Commune with Nature.

    Spell Slot Economy: Druids have quite a few spells that heal or hurt big numbers for their level, but slowly. E.g., Goodberry is a cumbersome healing spell, but it heals a big number of hit points, and Flaming Sphere takes some time to get going, but can deal a lot of damage over its duration. Druids also get some spells that give you something to do for a while without expending further spell slots, like Call Lightning and Sunbeam. Using Conjure X spells can potentially give you a lot of action for a single spell slot.
    Land druids get some spell slot recovery on top of this, while the rest of the circles get various tools or enhancements to tools, which they can use when they donít want to spend spell slots.

    Utility: Between wild shape and being a prepared caster, druids can cover a lot of ground as they level up. They can teleport, fly, climb, go underwater, shape earth and stone, talk to plants, change the weather, scry, and many more things. They also get basic healing and debuff removal, though not to the degree of the cleric.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-12-25 at 06:14 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 4

    Regarding Concentration
    The strongest spells are generally limited by requiring concentration. Since you can only have one spell with concentration running at any given time, there are two basic approaches:
    You can keep concentration generally free, and then use it as the need arises. Battlefield control spells like Entangle and Spike Growth wonít last past the encounter, e.g.
    The other way to go about it, is to find a spell that will last a good long while, and depend on that. Conjure X and buffs like Barkskin and Protection from Energy can be cast well in advance, and as long as you can maintain concentration, you can rely on their very considerable advantages.
    Spoiler: Regarding Concentration
    Show
    As usual, the circles have each their own variation on the theme. Dreams and land druids are casters, and they are likely to be flexible with their Concentration when they arenít using it for conjuring minions. Moon druids in a phase of strong wild shapes may start the adventuring day in caster form, relying on the bonus action shift to wild shape to avoid losing precious combat rounds. That way, the moon druid can cast some early spells if the situation calls for it, but once shifted is likely to remain in wild shape as long as possible. If the group take many short rests, the moon druids become more versatile in this regard, much better able to use both spells and wild shape resources. The shepherdís abilities point very much towards using concentration for conjuring minions, with only the occasional (and usually non-combat) exception.

    Expanding on this, the moon druid is likely to prefer long-lasting buffs over BC or summoning. Since the moon druidís place tends to be on the front line, a defensive buff is exactly what they need, as it both protects their hit point pool and makes it easier for them to maintain concentration.
    Once concentration is lost, itís time for the moon druid to evaluate whether itís worth it to drop wild shape (as a bonus action), get some spell with concentration up, and then use the second (and until level 20 final) wild shape of the rest. It likely won't be worth doing in the middle of a fight, but there will be exceptions.
    If the moon druid has taken a shape that can speak (i.e. has a language listed in its stat block), they are likely to want to avail themselves of the sheer power of minionmancy, even when wild shaped.

    Dreams, land, and shepherd druids (and moon druids when their wild shapes donít cut it for a frontline role) have a more flexible approach to varying degrees. Since they generally hang back in the party, and are less likely to feel compelled to keep a wild shape, they can better afford to spend their concentration on other things. Summoning minions and controlling the battlefield helps the druid to stay safe, and they are much better able to recover from those cases when concentration does get lost. Another batch of summons or a fresh BC spell is just an action away. Dropping a wild shape is also less of a loss for non-moon druids, whose wild shapes are weaker anyway. In addition, due to their usual role and place in the party, casting druids are less likely to lose concentration in the first place.

    Thereís nothing inherently preventing moon druids from, say, summoning a bunch of bears, turn into a bear, and then hang back while the summons keep them safe (except that summons respond to verbal commands, and you can't speak as a bear). The druid just wonít be doing as much to stop the enemy as s/he would on the frontline, where the wild shape can attack. But being on the frontline would risk the summons. So there is more of a dilemma there.
    Likewise, other circles may well find occasion to put on a wild shape with a big hp pool and get in harmís way for a while, particularly at low levels. It is not generally the most efficient use of time, as their wild shapes are weaker, and their circle abilities point in different directions than melee fighting. But sometimes you just want to keep an enemy occupied, and the loss of a wild shape or two isnít much of a price to pay for that.

    Two closing remarks on Concentration: Casting a spell with a longer casting time than an action takes up your concentration while casting - and that includes Ritual casting. And dropping Concentration ends the spell, which takes no action. This gives a bit of extra flexibility to Concentration spells. It can be done outside your own turn (which is how you lose Concentration to damage, e.g.). The latter bit is surmised rather than stated outright, so the DM may disagree.


    Prepared Spell List
    The basic formula you need to contend with is druid level + wisdom bonus spells prepared at a given time. You can change your prepared spells after a long rest, and doing so takes one minute per spell level prepared. This adds up as you go up in level. If you're the only prepared caster in the party, being an elf for Trance can help keep you on schedule.
    In overall terms, you have about two spells to prepare per spell level available, and your wisdom modifier for bonus spells. In other words not so many.
    Land druid spell preparation is less famished, as they keep their circle spells (two at level 3, rising gradually to eight at level 9) prepared in addition to those from the general formula. This gives them some leeway to be flexible and take chances with their chosen preparation list. See the comparison of land spell lists in the spoiler 'Land Druid' in post 2.
    See the Quickspell Guide below for concrete advice on which prepared spells to pick. Or open the spoiler below for a discussion on making your own prepared spell list.
    Spoiler: Picking Prepared Spells
    Show
    When picking spells, the aim is to provide yourself with the most useful options. If you knew exactly what would happen that day, this would be easy.
    Spells tend to range between versatile and situational. Take a spell like Faerie Fire, which can be used to counter invisibility. This is a pretty useful thing to be able to do, and with a first level spell slot to boot. But what if you have no reason to counter invisibility? Itís not every day you come across invisible enemies. But Faerie Fire has a strong use beyond dealing with invisibility: It gives advantage to those who attack the targets of the spell. This duality of purpose makes Fearie Fire a versatile spell, and one you will rarely regret preparing (unless your approach to concentration dictates otherwise Ė see the discussion on Concentration earlier in this post for that).
    Other spells are highly situational, and should only be prepared when you have reason to think youíll need them. A spell like Water Breathing can potentially open a whole slew of options for the druid and the party. Having it on your class spell list is a clear point in favour of the druid. But in most campaigns you will cast the spell a handful of times or less. Itís a spell that should be prepared with a specific purpose in mind.

    Another factor to consider, when youíre choosing your prepared spells, is what you are expected to be doing for the group. Dealing damage in combat is essential for a group, but less so for an individual in the group. You should have an attack cantrip or two to fall back on, and probably let the rogue and the fighter (if you have them in the party) beat the enemy down, rather than fill your list with every damage-dealing spell you can. If the party wizard focuses on summoning, you should probably prepare something in a different vein, or your summons could be getting in each othersí way. If the group likes to rely on stealth, youíll be everyoneís favourite if you cast Pass without Trace. And so on.
    Evaluate your spellsí performance at the end of the day, so you can rotate those out that donít live up to your expectations. Bringing some of them up in discussion with your party is often a good idea (and an opportunity to roleplay). You may have thought little of your Daylight spell, but perhaps the party archer thought it was great to be able to get some distance to your foes. Or maybe you thought keeping a water elemental was great, but the sorcererís player noticed how close you really came to losing control of it, and the thing kept getting in the way of her area of effect spells. Maybe sheíd be happier with a fire elemental, letting her cut loose with her big fire spells without worrying about damaging your summons.
    While you should not let the group dictate to you any more than you should dictate to them, making plans and putting your collective efforts in line will make your party more successful - or just less dead.

    If you find yourself with spell slots to use, and nothing to use them on, take note and learn from the experience. One of your greatest advantages as a druid is your freedom in changing your arsenal and tool box from day to day.


    Healing
    Ideally, you should not need to heal at all, but you probably wonít be playing in an ideal world. Bad luck, bad planning and bad blood may each make it necessary to heal. At level one and two, youíll have three spells that can do so; Cure Wounds, Goodberry and Healing Word. What should you spend your precious preparation and slots on?
    Spoiler: On Spells that Restore Hit Points
    Show
    Goodberry is generally the healing spell out of combat. It heals 10 hp for a first level spell slot. These can be distributed among anyone who is able to take actions as you like. This insures against overhealing and allows filling up the gaps, but it does not help unconscious characters. Goodberry does not scale with higher level spell slots, but throughout your career, it is a possible way for you to spend your first level spell slots. In addition, thereís the bit about anyone eating a goodberry not needing to eat anything more that day. You can feed 10 people per spell slot indefinitely.
    This spell is very useful for moon druids early in their career. They can cast this spell early in the day, and still get some healing done to other people without dropping out of wild shape.
    Since Goodberries last for up to 24 hours, some players like to cast all their remaining spell slots as Goodberry spells before taking a long rest. Others consider this cheesy. At any rate, itís something of a risk to be without spells if your rest gets disturbed. Maybe you wonít have any spells for a long time, if you have to flee during the night. Or maybe only for a short time, because you got killed in the fight because you were out of spells.

    On the opposite extreme is Healing Word. It heals 1d4 + wis modifier with a bonus action, making it very useful for in-combat healing even if it heals less than the other options. Healing Word also has a bit of range, and it needs only a Verbal component to cast. It scales rather poorly, adding only 1d4 per spell level.
    Dreams druids get Balm at level 2, which does much the same. Very early on there may be a reason to have Healing Word prepared for them just to be sure you have enough uses of bonus action healing. But Balm will soon eclipse Healing Word.
    Land and Shepherd druids should at least consider Healing Word every time they prepare spells. Bonus action healing is very useful in emergencies.
    Moon druids use their bonus action to wild shape and return to caster form. So there can be something of a action economy conflict here for them, especially if the DM takes the position that they can't also shift with a normal action.

    In between those two is Cure Wounds, which will heal 1d8 + wis modifier with an action, a touch and a first level slot. It scales far better with higher level spell slots than Healing Word, but when cast from a first level slot, the difference is not too big. And once you get to those higher level slots, you will very much hope that you can handle the problem out of combat, where you can get the most healing for your slots.

    In summary, at the lowest levels, Healing Word will likely be the better choice, at least for land and shepherd druids. Later, its poor scaling can make it hard to get enough healing from it to make it able to salvage a bad position (and that is after all the primary purpose of in-combat healing). You will want to get or keep people on their feet long enough to get their actions. If the healing target has its turn right after you, any amount of healing will do. Otherwise you may be better off using a Ready action for some healing, or you have to heal enough in one go that your target is likely to remain conscious (and they are likely prone and may be vulnerable on that account, too).
    Out of combat, Goodberry gives the most hit points for your spell slot (even at +5 wisdom CW heals on average 9.5 to Goodberryís stable 10), and remains something to consider for your first level spell slots indefinitely.

    A word on Meatball or Yo-yo Healing: When someone is down and bleeding, any little bit of hp healing will get them back on their feet and in the fight, since you canít go below 0 hp. Especially at higher levels, this can potentially allow someone to absorb enormous damage, while only needing piddling amounts of healing to get back in the fight. Such cases may even see the patient get all their actions in the fight (depending on initiative order), needing to spend just some of their movement to stand up every time they get knocked down and healed up.
    Some tables dislike this phenomenon, and deal with it in some way. Some introduce a house rule to handle it, while others will have the enemy react to this sort of healing by continuing to attack those downed until dead Ė or at least doing so after the first recovery.
    Exactly how this is handled at your table will have an effect on how you emergency heal, and so perhaps may your own tastes and roleplaying.

    Level 3 gives you access to Healing Spirit (from XGtE). It heals slowly, and it requires some coordination of the party for full effect. Crucially it takes Concentration, making it incompatible with most of your minionmancy. But it can potentially heal up to 10d6 hp for every party member with sufficient coordination. If youíre willing to be cheesy, carrying a particularly wounded party member through the area can increase the healing even further, though I wouldnít recommend pushing the envelope (and there is developer's indication this isn't supposed to work - the effect does not occur when you are not moving under your own power). This is already a very efficient healing spell, especially between fights when the whole party are heavily wounded. Some DMs will nerf or ban it even without the carrying.
    When you first get it, it probably wonít heal to its full potential (often only one or two party members are badly injured, and you will have fewer max hp than this can heal), but as you go up, it can be a particularly solid use of a second level spell slot. One thing to ponder: If you have a minute for this spell, is it possible you have an hour for a short rest? Consider this carefully in the situation. Hit Dice can only be used for the one thing, and should be used when possible. Spell slots are much more flexible. And short rests have other benefits as well as healing.

    At level 7, you can use Conjure Woodland Beings to summon two Dryads, each of which can cast three Goodberry spells, which makes for cost-effective (but also slow) 60 hit points of healing (and that's just part of what the dryads can do for you). As noted under Goodberry above, they can be kept for quite a while. So as long as youíre summoning the dryads, try to have them make the goodberries for you as well.

    From level 9, you can prepare Mass Cure Wounds. It's a slightly tricky spell, most noteworthy for its ability to bring several allies at 0 back in the fight in one go. It heals 3d8+wis modifier on up to six targets. If this is a need you feel often enough that you want to prepare this spell on an average adventuring day, you may want to look into whether your group are doing things right. That sort of being on the ropes isn't supposed to happen very often.
    The spell can also theoretically heal a nice amount, but only if sufficiently many are wounded. Even if they are, you may want to wait with the healing until after the fight, and use Healing Spirit instead.
    Damage often accumulates on the frontliners more than the rearliners, and the party may very well not even have six members to begin with. So this spell has some niche uses, but generally isn't a go-to healing spell.

    At level 11 you get Heal, which is a swift way (for druid healing, at least) to recover hit points in or out of combat. Healing 70 hit points with an action, it is over twice as efficient as casting Cure Wounds from a sixth level slot, and it has range to boot.


    Quickspell Guide
    Here you will find some quick and dirty advice on how to put your prepared spell list together at lower levels. The advice takes circles into account, but not the various land druid circle spells. Adjust as needed. These lists also only use PHB spells for simplicity.
    The spells here are meant for days of general adventuring with potential for lots of combat. They include the number of spells in it at a glance. Adjust for your wisdom bonus as required. The number of spells in your prepared list is druid level + wisdom bonus.
    Some places you will pick from more than one option, indicated with a /. So when it says Heat Metal/Flaming Sphere, you pick one of those.
    * indicates a spell, which can be cast with higher spell slots for increased effect.

    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 1
    Show
    4 spells: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Healing Word*


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 2
    Show
    Non-moon 5
    Detect Magic, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Healing Word*

    Moon 5
    Detect Magic, Entangle, Goodberry, Healing Word*, Longstrider


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 3
    Show
    Non-moon 6
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Healing Word*
    2: Darkvision/Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*

    Moon 6
    1: Detect Magic, Goodberry, Longstrider
    2: Barkskin, Pass without Trace, Darkvision


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 4
    Show
    Dreams 8
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Fog Cloud
    2: Darkvision, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Pass without Trace, Lesser Restoration

    Land/Shepherd 8
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Healing Word*
    2: Darkvision, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Pass without Trace, Lesser Restoration

    Moon 7
    1: Detect Magic, Goodberry, Longstrider
    2: Barkskin, Pass without Trace, Darkvision, Lesser Restoration


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 5
    Show
    Dreams 9
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry
    2: Darkvision/Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*, Plant Growth/Speak with Plants

    Land/Shepherd 9
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Healing Word*/Goodberry
    2: Darkvision/Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*, Plant Growth/Speak with Plants

    Moon 8
    1: Detect Magic, Goodberry, Longstrider
    2: Barkskin/Darkvision, Pass without Trace, Lesser Restoration
    3: Dispel Magic*, Protection from Energy


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 6
    Show
    Dreams 10
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry
    2: Darkvision, Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*, Plant Growth/Speak with Plants

    Land/Shepherd 10
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Healing Word*/Goodberry
    2: Darkvision, Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*/Flaming Sphere*/Moonbeam*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*, Plant Growth/Speak with Plants

    Moon 9
    1: Detect Magic, Goodberry, Longstrider
    2: Barkskin, Pass without Trace, Darkvision, Lesser Restoration
    3: Dispel Magic*, Protection from Energy


    Spoiler: Quickspell Druid Level 7
    Show
    Dreams 11
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry
    2: Darkvision/Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*
    4: Conjure Woodland Beings*, Freedom of Movement, Stoneshape

    Land/Shepherd 11
    1: Entangle, Faerie Fire, Healing Word*/Goodberry
    2: Darkvision/Pass without Trace, Heat Metal*, Lesser Restoration
    3: Conjure Animals*, Dispel Magic*
    4: Conjure Woodland Beings*, Freedom of Movement, Stoneshape

    Moon 10
    1: Detect Magic, Goodberry, Longstrider
    2: Barkskin, Pass without Trace/Darkvision, Lesser Restoration
    3: Dispel Magic*, Protection from Energy
    4: Freedom of Movement, Stoneshape

    The moon druid may find their wild shape to be rather ineffective in combat around now, and more so at level 8. If so, pick spells like a caster until you get sufficiently strong wild shapes.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-02-24 at 10:08 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 5

    Druid Spell Analysis
    Every druid spell I have found is here and commented on. They are arranged by level, with the spells accessible only to land druids after the general spells.
    Healing comparison is done in the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí above.
    The entries can be rather lengthy, and yet you will still need to look the spell up in the PHB for a full understanding. The comments are meant to be explanatory, and offer suggestions and advice, so there is a limit to how short they can be.
    Parentheses indicate where you can find spells that are not in the PHB.

    Spoiler: Spell Level 1
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    Absorb Elements (EEPC, XGtE): The sudden resistance can be a nice, a small panic button to keep you alive or save you a lot of damage. The extra melee damage is less useful. Perhaps a moon druid in caster form could use this to get a small extra bit of damage to the first melee hit of a form, but it would just be a small, incidental bonus.
    Seems a bit too situational for my taste, at low levels anyway. As you go higher, and you know you will be getting lots of energy attacks, (especially of various kinds) this will of course be a nice panic button once you get up enough in level to use your low level spell slots more freely.

    Animal Friendship: If you have played prior editions, you may find that applying the Ďcharmedí condition doesnít do very much these days. AF spells are not useless, but neither are they easy ways to remove an enemy and add a meat shield to your party in one swoop. Individual DMs may have their own interpretations here. Animal Friendship augments your social skills and prevents the target from attacking you. Therefore, the use of this spell has a lot to do with just how much social skills can do at your table.

    Beast Bond (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Basically a buff to an animal fighting for you, giving it advantage on attack rolls against enemies close to you. If your DM lets you use Animal Friendship to get fighting pets, this is an interesting buff, more so if you generally have problems getting your minion to understand what you want it to do. Otherwise, this is quite situational for a druid. You should have better things to spend your Concentration on and better ways to communicate with animals.

    Charm Person: If you have played prior editions, you may find that applying the Ďcharmedí condition doesnít do very much these days. CP spells are not useless, but neither are they easy ways to remove an enemy and add a meat shield to your party in one swoop. Individual DMs may have their own interpretations here. Charm Person augments your social skills and prevents the target from attacking you. Therefore, the use of this spell has a lot to do with just how much social skills can do at your table.

    Create or Destroy Water: Drinking water aside, this spell can also have the water come down as rain and douse flames. If your party are prone to causing fires and only you can prevent them, this spell is something to consider. Otherwise it is definitely prepared at need only.

    Cure Wounds: Healing Word is better for stopping death saves, and Goodberry is better for out of combat healing. This leaves a specific niche for Cure Wounds: When in a fight you need to put some healing on someone, which must be enough to prevent them from going down next time they get hit. See the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí in post 4 for a more detailed analysis and comparison of healing spells.

    Detect Magic: Ritual, Concentration. You need to find out from your DM if it pings off itself (as it informs you about magic within 30í, which may well mean itself). If it does, its only use is for when you spend your action. When doing that, it can give useful clues, especially about illusions (but generally not invisibility, as it is specified to only show you auras on visible creatures).

    Detect Poison and Disease: Ritual, Concentration. In the right circumstances, this is a very useful spell, which can tell you a lot about what you are dealing with and how to handle it. It identifies specific poisons, poisonous creatures and diseases simply by the caster being close to them. Of course, if youíre not encountering any of these things, the spell doesnít do anything for you, except maybe make you feel safe enough to drink the wine offered by the dark stranger. It doesnít detect magical effects, though (say, philtre of love), so donít get complacent.

    Earth Tremor (EEPC, XGtE): Very similar to Thunderwave, except it is centred on you; it knocks targets prone rather than back; and the damage type is bludgeoning. Knocking enemies prone is generally more useful than knocking them back 10í (it costs them more movement to stand up than to move 10' generally, and your melee friends get advantage against the prone), but prone does not allow for the occasional spectacular success of knocking them off cliffs or into some dangerous effect. And it doesn't spare you Opportunity Attacks, although from prone foes they will be with disadvantage.

    Entangle: Concentration. Can apply the Ďrestrainedí condition, and is resisted with strength saves (action to save again if restrained). Combined AoE debuff and battlefield control, this spell is likely to be useful to you through most of your career, at least as long as you meet ground-creatures with less strength than you have wisdom. The party rogue will particularly enjoy the easy sneak attacks.

    Faerie Fire: Concentration. Debuff and anti-invisibility tool in one. Dexterity save to avoid. The anti-invisibility helps all your friends fight the invisible enemy, but it does require that you guess the general location you need to target. One way could be to utilize wild shape or summons: Giant Poisonous Snake and Giant Spider have a bit of blindsight. Teaming up with someone who can run through a lot of squares and see if they can bump into someone could be another way. Flour, sand or gravel thrown by an ally is a time-honoured trick, but depends a lot on the DM. So does listening for the enemyís position.

    Fog Cloud: Concentration. Quick and dirty way to mess up line of sight if you find clear fields of vision isnít to your advantage. Exactly how the DM chooses to interpret this effect can make a big difference. Can you hide on the edge and still see out, for example? The rogue would love to be able to use the cloud to hide to get sneak attack like that. How do NPCs react to being effectively blinded? If they are prone to panic, so much the better.
    Except for the most unusual interpretations, you should be able to hide from that company of archers in relative safety. Place the cloud around them if they canít very well move, or around you if it wonít be too much of a nuisance for your party Ė or simply in any place between your two groups where it will provide the cover you need without actually blinding anyone. Or throw up some cover before beating a hasty retreat.

    Goodberry: The most spell slot effective healing spell you start out with, and it has the added benefit of feeding people for a day. The downsides have to do with the one being healed needing to spend an action to do so. So you canít heal people who are at 0 hp, though I know some DMs allow others to spend actions to feed goodberries to the unconscious. You shouldnít put stuff into the mouth of unconscious people in the real world, btw, they are prone to choke (unless youíre wearing a lab coat, then you can get away with the most remarkable things, until security takes you away).
    The action requirement also means that Goodberry heals slowly and at a heavy action economy cost. In other words, it is next to useless during a fight.
    See the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí in post 4 for a more detailed analysis and comparison of healing spells.

    Healing Word: Bonus action healing at range with only a verbal component. The amount of healing is small, and the bonus action casting means you canít cast other non-cantrip spells with your action this turn. But that may be perfectly acceptable.
    This spell gets people back on their feet with a minimum of time, but the hp amount means it will soon stop being useful for anything else. See the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí in post 4 for a more detailed analysis and comparison of healing spells.

    Ice Knife (EEPC, XGtE): Direct damage dealing, something of a rarity in the druid spell list, especially at this level. The amount (except on one target) and the likelihood it will be landed are not particularly impressive. Due to the centre needing to be a creature, the targeting is also somewhat clunky. Can be cast in Silence, though.

    Jump: Triples the targetís jump distance for one minute. The basic jump distance is a number of feet equal to the creatureís strength score. Elephants are magnificent jumpers, obviously. So cast this spell on yourself, turn into an elephant, and go jumping!
    Seriously, this spell is quite niche. Prepare it when you have a specific aim in mind, and one you canít accomplish by turning into some animal. So probably youíd be casting this on a dex-based party member who will be needing to jump around a lot due to some unusual battlefield.

    Longstrider: A rare buff that lasts a decent while and doesnít require concentration. If you are going to wildshape, this could well be a good buff to get up first, to help you get into melee and generally manoeuvre. Look at how combats go and see if it makes a difference at your table (more likely to do so if you use a grid and miniatures rather than Theatre of the Mind combat). If you are in caster form, the usefulness depends a lot on your group and how you work together. If you are already safely cared for as a behind-the-lines caster, you probably donít need this. Consider casting it on your friends or someoneís mount instead, if they can make good use of it.
    The spell doesnít specify movement type, so it should affect swim and fly speeds too, but as always, itíll be up to your DM.

    Purify Food and Drink: Very niche spell, here. For general party consumption, you have Goodberries. It must be said, though, that the amount of food that can be purified with this spell is potentially huge (everything in a 5í radius), especially if you take the time to gather it together before casting.
    I imagine it being used when poison is feared at a banquet, or when a caravanís supplies go bad in damp conditions. So nothing you wonít see coming in time to prepare it for specific reasons.

    Snare (XGtE): Clunky to use due to the long casting time, but Snare can be pretty effective when you do it well. The obvious use is for an ambush, but you can also use it in preparation on an expected battlefield, when there is an obvious escape route or a good place for casters or archers to hide. It is also useful in preparation for hit-and-run warfare, where you can lead an enemy into the area (you just need to be able to jump the 10í area to avoid it).
    Rope is a little heavy or not that cheap, and so you probably wonít be using this spell very often.

    Speak with Animals: Ritual. People donít usually keep secrets from their mounts or the birds in the garden, so consider the usefulness in opening up investigations to these witnesses too. Donít hesitate to bribe them with carrots and bird seed as needed, and perhaps even use Animal Friendship to get advantage on your skill checks. This is obviously highly dependent on the situation and the DM. At some tables this spell will be next to useless, at others it will open up a whole world of NPCs to you.

    Thunderwave: Short-range damage dealer and knockback in an AoE package. It should be useful, but I find it very rarely comes up in actual play. As moon druid, it might be an interesting option after you get knocked into caster form, but itís a prepared spell for something you try to keep from happening. In caster form, being next to a bunch of melee monsters is very much not where you want to be. And you don't want your friends caught in the effect, either.
    If your DM likes to set up situations where the enemies form up in close formations that suit this spell, youíll likely find it more useful than I have; especially if you can use the knockback to push them off heights, or into fires, or something.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 2
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    Animal Messenger: An early access Sending effect. The main downside to this spell (for its purpose, anyway), is uncertainty. Maybe the recipient wasnít found, or maybe the animal was eaten by a predator. That said, this spell can play a useful role in a lot of plans about warning the town or sending back reports to the army youíre scouting for. With a little planning, you can use the kit for a carrier pigeon, and an actual pigeon, to send longer messages to places the pigeon wouldnít go to without direction.
    The spell could play an important role if you get trapped or put in prison, in that it may allow you to send for aid. But youíre a druid. Bars canít hold the force of nature, and if a tiny animal can go somewhere, then so can you Ė and without having this spell take up a space on your prepared list.

    Barkskin: Concentration. This is a general purpose defensive buff for moon druids, although its efficiency is closely based on what type of beast you choose. The worse the AC of the beast, the more appealing this spell becomes. If you have Warcaster and/or Resilient for Constitution, the odds of maintaining concentration when taking damage are pretty good.
    You can of course cast this spell on others, but there are few cases where people are enough of a target, and yet donít have similar or better defensive capabilities already. A vulnerable mount or an unarmoured NPC you must escort could be worthy targets, but generally speaking you could probably protect them better by casting, say, Entangle on the people meaning to attack them, as long as you arenít surprised.

    Beast Sense: Ritual, Concentration. Can probably be combined with Animal Friendship and/or Speak with Animals for some good scouting of an enemy position or the path youíre taking (or the one not taken). Could also be combined with a friendly rangerís beast, or any trained animal the party has. Rather a niche spell, but not completely ineffective under the right circumstances.
    It has no verbal component, making it a spell you can probably cast while sneaking or hiding.

    Darkvision: A rare, long-duration, non-Concentration buff. 60í darkvision for 8 hours. Can be cast on the one person in the party who lacks darkvision to up your stealth capabilities, or to get darkvision when you wildshape to something without it.

    Dust Devil (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. A bludgeoning version of Flaming Sphere, sacrificing some damage (particularly the ability to attack one specific target) for the chance to knock people 10í away and to cause some obscurement. Knocking people away is both good (because itís control) and bad (because enemies need to be near the dust devil to be subjected to it). It scales much better with higher level slots than flaming sphere, and presumably it can affect airborne targets.

    Earthbind (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Stops enemies from flying, and brings those already flying slowly down. Potentially nice debuff, but rather specific and unspectacular.

    Enhance Ability: Concentration. A versatile non-combat buff. Gets advantage on checks made with one ability, so if you are going to speak with the mayor you can get charisma, or if you are calling on a lot of investigation and knowledge checks get int. And so on. Could also be used to buff someone who uses Athletics in their fighting a lot, but thatís a niche use of your Concentration. Picking dexterity will affect your initiative.
    Affects more people with higher level spell slots. It seems to me the text will let you choose different effects for different targets with the same casting, but ask your DM.

    Find Traps: The nichy of niche spells. It is quite unspecific, doesnít help you disarm the traps, and is instantaneous, so you canít examine a large area with it. The DM may be generous enough to key you in on damage type, which could help mitigate damage, but I fail to see the real use of this spell. Does not replace a patient, competent trap-finder at all. Barely, if at all, complements such a person.

    Flame Blade: Concentration. Since itís cast as a bonus action, this spell need not be completely useless. RAW is that you attack with it once with your action, though some DMs may rule that multiclass druids with more than one attack could combine the two.
    The amount of damage you can deal with one spell slot here is pretty good, although the damage type (fire) and means of application (melee spell attack) arenít the best you could hope for. Compared to a shillelagh cantrip, the basic version of the spell doesnít measure up too well, dealing an average of 10.5 damage to the shillelaghís 4.5+wis modifier. Combining the two (Shillelagh on a club in the off-hand) doesn't really work by RAW, but if the multi-attack was acceptable, this may be too.
    If you find yourself on the front lines in caster form a lot, this spell could have some uses for you. But generally speaking, Flame Blade is more cool than useful.

    Flaming Sphere: Concentration. The damage type is unfortunate, but flaming sphere can deal pretty good damage over its duration, particularly if you put it next to people who canít or wonít move away from it. Grappling melee are obvious candidates to keep a foe next to the sphere, which also deals damage when someone ends their turn next to it. This effect can also be used for area denial, although enemies can of course move next to it, deliver their action, and then move away after, and so avoid the extra damage.
    The spell is a lot more useful in cramped quarters than in open spaces, where enemies can avoid it by spreading out. It is similarly far better in a long battle than in a short one, as it lets you use your bonus action to deal some damage for the duration.

    Gust of Wind: Concentration. Niche, but it is admittedly highly amusing when it works. The idea is to blow someone backwards, and then watch them struggle up through the area of effect on their turn. Then you move and blow them back again with a bonus action.
    By RAW it does not affect archery in its area, but your DM may choose some effect, which you should try and find out if you intend to use this spell.
    If your table plays with full diagonal movement on a grid, this spell is badly affected by it, unless you can set it in a sufficiently narrow passage.

    Healing Spirit (XGtE): Concentration. Mostly for out of combat healing, but could be cast on someone taking a stand in a narrow way to give them continuous healing. The sheer healing capacity of this spell (which is multiplied by the number of people in the party) is somewhat mitigated by it costing Concentration, and therefore cutting off any Conjure X minions you may have.
    See under the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí above for detailed comparison and analysis.

    Heat Metal: Concentration. Situational (because it only targets metal), but highly effective when it does work. Target a powerful enemyís (metal) body armour, and you deal persistent damage while hitting them with disadvantage on their attack rolls and ability checks. No save (because they canít drop their armour; doffing body armour takes at least a minute by RAW, the duration of Heat Metal anyway), and there is very little they can do about it, save break your concentration. This is extremely effective for hit and run attacks, as there is no indication you need to have line of sight or be within range to cause the recurring damage with your bonus action. If your group doesnít like hit-and-run, try at least to have them target other enemies first. The one youíve got HM on will at least have disadvantage on attacks, and slowly be drained of their hp.
    You can also target a weapon, but then you or your allies need to be able to snatch that weapon up before that enemyís turn comes around again (if it gets dropped, no guarantee of that). Otherwise it wonít have as much of an effect as targeting armour, because picking a weapon up is one of the minor things you can do as part of movement or action.
    Against enemies with no metal armour, you could possibly team up with someone to plant metal on them, particularly if you have an Arcane Trickster in the party. This is rather DM dependent, but if you can make it work, it expands the target list greatly.

    Hold Person: Concentration. Potentially a very effective way to inconvenience your enemy, but also highly unpredictable given the Ďsave endsí condition. This is a spell I consider noticeably more effective cast with a higher spell slot, as it spreads the risk. Targeting enemies with good wisdom saves can easily be a complete waste. Mage and Archmage have proficiency in wisdom, and acolytes, priests and druids have decent wisdom scores (those are NPCs from the MM). So as much as weíd like to lock down spellcasters, this is something of a gamble for that purpose. Goblins, grimlocks and kobolds have penalties to their wisdom save as a rarity among humanoids, but they may not be worth targeting.

    Lesser Restoration: Ends a disease or one of the following conditions: Blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned. Not an everyday spell, but very useful when you do need it. Try talking to your group about what you expect to face, and see whether it seems worth the prepared spell to have this handy. Three of those effects are sufficiently debilitating that countering them, even for a few roundsí worth of duration, can be worth it in many cases.

    Locate Animals or Plants: Ritual. Can be used to locate the closest of a specific kind of animal or plant within five miles. Since you need to see animals for wild shape use, this can be a strong tool to point out to your DM. It seems rather unlikely you will be playing out most of your sightseeing hikes, so merely pointing it out may be enough.

    Locate Object: Concentration. Between a fairly limited range (1000í Ė they could have upped that with higher slots, I think) and a very specific use (finding an object you have seen before), this spell does not belong on your daily prepared list. It may not warrant a single casting in the average campaign. But if you do have to track down babyís first tooth or the location of the stolen pearl, using this (perhaps with some triangulation) could be useful, once youíre already pretty close. At least it could save you looking through a given house for it, if you find it isnít within 1000í, though the lead blocking messes with this use.

    Moonbeam: Concentration. Dealing the attractive radiant damage type in an area, the main worry with this spell is to keep or get enemies inside the AoE for as long as possible. Otherwise it doesnít do quite so impressive damage for a second level spell. If you can control one or more opponents, this spell is very attractive. Casting this spell and then wild shaping into a grappling form (Giant Constrictor Snake and crocs have ways to keep people locked down) could be one way for moon druids. The DM may decide that if youíre grappling someone, youíll be in the AoE too, which makes this a lot less attractive. By RAW, though, that isnít the case.

    Pass without Trace: Concentration. Much stronger than in previous editions, this spell now gives a group +10 to Stealth. That this is a huge boost to a very useful skill. It can make even the heavily armoured people passable stealthers, and at the same time make the able stealthers so good they may not need to roll at all unless you houserule natural 1 to be automatic failure.

    Protection from Poison: 1 hour resistance to poison damage and advantage on saves vs. poison, and it eliminates one active poison in the system. Really good at times when you deal with a lot of drow, spiders, assassins, etc. It is, of course, useless when thereís no poison.

    Skywrite (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Ritual. Extraordinarily situational spell, but not entirely useless. Can communicate over vast distances (anyone looking up will see Ė but will those you want to reach know to look up?), or maybe earn you some money if you stoop to doing adverts.

    Spike Growth: Concentration. Potentially very strong for its level, especially against onrushing hordes of lesser creatures. Deals piercing damage to those passing through the AoE for every five feet of movement, potentially dealing damage eight times before the enemy is through. Thatíd be 16d4 damage (!). Only the stupidest of enemies will be cut to shreds en masse in that way, but even just for its BC effect, this is a useful spell.
    Combine with control to move enemies through the effect for added damage.

    Warding Wind (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. A defensive buff that makes it harder to shoot you (or past you) with missile weapons, and makes it harder to approach you (area within 10í of you counts as difficult terrain for others). It also deafens you, which is mostly a bad thing, unless you are subjected to hostile effects relying on speech or sound. Rather situational, and not likely the best use of your Concentration. But it might go on your prepared list every now and again, like if you expect large numbers of archers and you canít think of better ways to inconvenience them.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 3
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    Call Lightning: Concentration. Another damage-dealer that performs well in damage per spell slot, but not so well in how fast it deals the damage. This one is unusually situational, as it requires 100í of open air above you that you have line of sight to, and presumably (it isnít spelled out) line of sight between that point and your targets. If they can get under a roof of some sort, or around a corner, they are safe. On top of that, this spell deals extra damage if the weather is stormy. If your DM ever bothers about the weather, you may actually see this effect some day, but I wouldnít bet on it.
    To me, there are too many little niggling problems with this spell for me to want it prepared on general adventures, but it is situationally useful. The classic time to cast this spell is during a siege, whether attacking or defending a keep. That ought to give you full boom for your spell slot.

    Conjure Animals: Concentration. See the spoiler ĎOn Beastsí in post 8 for options here. Itís a very useful way to achieve damage dealing, protection via meat shield and possibly BC, depending on the kind and amount of summons you get. You can ask the DM for something specific, but s/he's supposed to make the final decision as per the Sage.
    Aside from providing you with this movable feast (as long as you get animals that can move about as fast as you, and can go where you go), they can cover a retreat, be left in ambush, sent to scout (if you can communicate with them Ė theyíre mentioned as both beast and fey, so consult your DM on how you can talk to them if you need them to report back to you; Speak with Animals, Sylvan, Druidic?), and anything else you can think of, as they donít need to remain within range once conjured.

    Daylight: Light, and lots of it. It dispels darkness magiks of level 2 or less if they get covered by Daylightís AoE. This spell, despite the enticing name, is not sunlight, and so does not trigger various sunlight-based problems in various undead or subterranean monsters.

    Dispel Magic: Eminently useful in many circumstances, and it will grow in usefulness as you advance your career. Use it to pass magical barriers, remove buffs or debuffs, clear magical effects from an area, etc.

    Erupting Earth (EEPC, XGtE): A lower-strength, bludgeoning version of Fireball, which leaves an area of difficult terrain. The damage scales very well with higher spell slots, so it deals respectable and reliable (magical bludgeoning) damage with a fifth level slot.

    Feign Death: Ritual. This spell has two uses. It can be used to pretend someone is dead, even with close examination. Maybe you need to sneak into a morgue, and someone pretends to be a coroner making a delivery. Alternatively, it can be used to delay the ravages of disease and poison until a more permanent solution can be found. Being a ritual spell, you can keep casting it while the party cleric takes a long rest and prepares the restoration spell needed.
    Technically, the resistance to all damage save psychic may have some particular uses. However, I canít think of any offhand, given that the target also cannot fight.

    Flame Arrows (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Not very useful in most circumstances. If you have, say, a necromancer friend specializing in archer skeletons, this spell will be a better option. It is still somewhat unimpressive, and should probably only be prepared with specific situations in mind (like a buff for the party archer when you canít otherwise be a part of the fight).

    Meld into Stone: Ritual. You should ask your DM two things about this spell: Can you take rests while melded into stone? And does the Ďtouchí range indicate you can cast it on other people, or that you must touch the stone you wish to meld into?
    If you can rest while melded, this is an obvious use, at least when you are on your own. Otherwise, this spell is mostly for going to ground and be hard to find and affect. You can still cast spells on yourself while melded, so keep that in mind if you cast it. Buffing, restoring and healing yourself before emerging back into a hard fight could be a good use of this spell.

    Plant Growth: BC spell, with an additional out of combat use. The effect is double-difficult terrain (4 feet of movement will get you 1), and the area is quite large and can include subareas not affected. Be sure to ask your DM whether this works in places without plants, as the text could support either interpretation. It will make a big difference on when this could be a spell worth preparing. If youíre a land druid, you should also ask your DM how this spell interacts with Landís Stride (lvl 6).

    Protection from Energy: Concentration. Resistance to the picked energy type. If you know you will be dealing with a particular kind of energy a lot in the next hour, this can be an excellent buff for you, for someone very vulnerable, or for someone expected to bear the brunt of the damage.

    Sleet Storm: Concentration. The most interesting thing about this BC spell, is that it forces saves to maintain Concentration by anyone inside the AoE. It could be seen as a generally upgraded version of Fog Cloud (lvl 1), but probably not one youíd want to hide inside. You can also quickly put out large fires. So if your group has a tendency to cause fires, this might be something you can do about it, and yet keep the prepared spell useful in other situations as well.

    Speak with Plants: Affects plants around you, allowing them to speak and move slightly Ė not to the point that they fight for you. They can perform some BC effects, removing difficult terrain or causing it, maintaining it for the duration. A surprisingly versatile spell as long as there are plants around, although it does lack the sheer power of other spells of its level. Much of its capacities are left up to the DM. Note that plants animated by this spell only remember what has happened within the past day.

    Tidal Wave (EEPC; XGtE): Interesting AoE, but deals little damage. Knocking enemies prone could be a saving grace, if you have allies who can make particular use of that (and get to act between you and the affected targets). Seems unlikely, though.

    Wall of Water (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. A pretty weird spell (note the effect with cold damage), which doesnít seem to compare very well with wall of air Ė except in duration and in its ability to halve damage of fire effects. Situationally useful.

    Water Breathing: Ritual. Allowing you to go on underwater adventures, solving the major problem in that regard (but then thereís communication, and perhaps darkness and cold to worry about). The 24-hour duration means it may make sense to cast this the night before heading off on an adventure, if you expect it to be short enough. Itís a gamble, but it could save you a spot on your prepared spell list.
    Of course, water breathing can also be used for laying ambushes near water, escaping in an unexpected direction, and the like. For you, the spell is mostly for casting on others. Youíve been able to turn into aquatic or amphibious creatures since level 4 at least.

    Water Walk: Ritual. Also works on many other kinds of surfaces, such as snow and mud: Even acid is mentioned as being harmlessly traversable. Lava can be crossed, but you still take damage from the heat. Very situational, but a great spell for moving effortlessly under otherwise difficult circumstances. Can also be cast on submerged people to get them to the surface quickly. If you somehow get a scroll or two of this, keep them handy and free up your prepared spells for something more commonly useful.

    Wind Wall: Concentration. Puts down a wall of any shape you like, as long as it is contiguous, up to 50í length. Keeps archery from working across it, and keeps out small flying creatures, gaseous creatures, gases, fogs, etc. Swarms arenít specifically mentioned, so ask your DM. In addition, it can deal 3d8 bludgeoning damage to anyone in it when it starts (str save for half), which gives it the additional ability to knock out quite a few lesser creatures in one go if they (and it) are situated right.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 4
    Show
    Blight: A quick, direct damage dealer to one target, which isnít very common in the druid arsenal. The amount of damage is decent for the level, unless you cast it against a plant creature. Then itís spectacular. The damage type (necrotic) is one of the better possibilities, and the inability to use the spell on undead and constructs isnít so bad. At least itís a warning against using it on the two types most likely to have immunity or resistance to necrotic damage anyway. Range is a mere 30í, however.
    Only prepare this if you have a special reason (ďI really, really wanted toĒ is a perfectly acceptable reason for amusement purposes, of course). By now, damage dealing shouldnít be hard to do for you and your party.

    Charm Monster: Works like Charm Person, but Charm Monster is able to target non-humanoids, and with higher level spell slots it can target multiple ones in one casting. Depending on what your DM allows your social skills to do, and how exactly s/he interprets that the creature is now Ďfriendlyí, this could be a worthwhile spell or a bit of a trap.

    Confusion: Concentration. One of the more spectacular BC spells, this can make short work of a tight group of foes. Or it can fail utterly. Or anything in between.
    If taken at average, it is quite similar to Hold Person (wis save or be out of the fight until you save). But Confusion can target non-humanoids, and it also targets any number of creatures inside the 10í radius of its AoE. A fourth level Hold Person could target three humanoids, but they wouldnít need to be quite so close to each other, and you could avoid targeting allies standing among them.
    Personally, I prefer more dependable spells. If you like a bit of chaos, though, this spell has undeniable charm. At any rate, Iíd rather conjure a bunch of Pixies (if the DM lets you) and have them cast and concentrate on this for me (see Conjure Woodland Beings below).

    Conjure Minor Elementals: Concentration. Much like Conjure Animals at spell level 3. While you get the same CRs as with that spell, there may be reason to use a 4th level spell slot for this option. See the ĎOn Elementalsí spoiler for suggestions and overview of choices. Their main advantage over beasts is their special abilities. Some have AoE attacks, some cast spells, and many explode when killed. Isnít that delightful?
    Note the casting time of 1 minute.

    Conjure Woodland Beings: Concentration. When in doubt, conjure a bunch of pixies. See the ĎOn Feyí spoiler for options, but note that the DM is supposed to have the final say. This is an almost ridiculously versatile and powerful spell, unless the DM screws with you, in which case it's useless. It likely wonít do much for your damage dealing (fey arenít better at general killing than beasts, but there are a few of them that can do similarly well, and with some special abilities like blink or darkness powers), but for Concentration solutions, debuffs, and spell slot economy, this is one of the very best spells in the game. Abuse it at your own peril; the DM has final say, and won't forget the time you turned the whole party into flying T-rexes.

    Control Water: Concentration. This spell allows you to do a bunch of cool stuff with water, as you might expect. It can allow you and your party to cross a 100í river, and it can create waves and whirlpools. Whirlpools at least make decent control, but only in very specific circumstances.
    The spell has decent range (300í), so maybe you can use this to frighten an enemy warband from hiding, or lure them into a position where their baggage train gets hit with a lot of water. And if youíre in a naval battle, you can cause waves to damage the enemy ships.
    Though there are several things you can do, they are all so specific youíll rarely put this spell on your list, particularly since it takes Concentration. And not a few of the things can be accomplished using other spells, like Water Walking, Water Breathing and Call Lightning.

    Dominate Beast: Concentration. This is a surprisingly weak spell. While you can technically take control of some major beast for a while (stealing an enemyís meat shield for your own use is always nice), you would have to know that this beast would be encountered and worth dominating for a minute to prepare the spell. And this beast would have to compete with so many useful options for your Concentration. Too little, too seldom.

    Elemental Bane (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Perhaps, when used in conjunction with an allied caster without the Elemental Adept feat, this could be good. Otherwise, it needs to work in conjunction with lots of little attacks dealing elemental damage. Maybe a group of mephits summoned by someone else could breathe on the target. But this is a spell that requires some planning if it is to be worth it.

    Freedom of Movement: A defensive buff that makes the target immune to a whole range of annoying or outright debilitating conditions and effects for an even hour. Yes, this is the good stuff.

    Giant Insect: Concentration. Take a group of poisonous critters, make them big, and send them to fight your enemies. This is very similar to your Conjure X spells, but with some differences: You actually have to have some critters to enlarge. Your range of choice is limited to four options. Duration is only ten minutes, where youíd expect an hour. The DM is specifically resolving what these critters do and where they go. And finally, the creatures you get are a little stronger or a little more numerous than what you get from Conjure Animals. The poison all these critters have is both a selling point and comes with the usual warning label: Poison is by far the least dependable damage type in the game.
    I think the main selling point for this spell is atmosphere. An Egyptian-themed campaign, for instance, would make this spell so cool to cast. But in general there are many annoyances and hurdles, so Iíd just choose a different minion-making spell.

    Grasping Vine: Concentration. Apparently intended to control enemiesí position. As for the obvious use, Iím inclined to think itís a niche spell. You need some specific reason to control an enemy like this, and most of those reasons would require your Concentration. Perhaps in conjunction with an allyís abilities this spell can shine, but I canít think of anything offhand. Otherwise, some enemy with a movement of less than 20í and no good ranged attack could be kept off of you, as long as it fails its dex save.
    This spell has a less obvious use: Pulling allies free from grapples. The vine causes no damage, and grapples are automatically broken if the grapplee is moved by someone else. If fighting a majorly grappling foe, this spell could get you and your allies free once per round, as long as you remain within 30í of the place you plant your vine. But you would need to know about this in advance to put this spell on your prepared list.
    A note on targeting friends with spells that give saving throws: There is no explicit rule allowing targets to voluntarily fail a saving throw. The saving throw description, however, gives some wiggle room, as it describes a saving throw as an attempt to resist. If the target isnít resisting, why need there be a saving throw? So ask your DM.

    Guardian of Nature (XGtE): Concentration. This looks like a ranger spell, which fell into the druid list when a developer shrugged. Most druids won't think twice about leaving this out of their prepared spell list. Moon druids may sigh at the thought of having Primal Beast for a wild shape. Giant Scorpions in particular would benefit. But the bonus action casting time isn't much of a boon for a bonus action shapeshifter, and the duration is quite short.
    A multiclass druid, like an archer, could be very frustrating to melee enemies with Great Tree. But even for them, they will have to have a very strong offensive or some niche circumstances working in favour of this spell. Otherwise, a wall of fur via conjured minions are likely to hinder enemies even more, and dealing more damage in the process - albeit at an action's casting time.

    Hallucinatory Terrain: If you are harassing a travelling creature or group, this spell can do you a world of good. It can lure them into problematic or dangerous positions, or channel them into specific areas by making a good path seem impassable.
    Most uses seem to be for warfare (particularly guerrilla warfare, but sieges and pitched battles can also benefit), rather than most adventuring.

    Ice Storm: Direct AoE damage plus a small, short-duration BC effect. The damage type is bludgeoning and cold, so your eggs (magical bludgeoning good, cold less good) are at least in two baskets. The amount is decent for the level as long as you avoid resistance or immunity Ė or enemies who specialize in dex saves. The size of the AoE is 20í radius on the ground, so thatís pretty decent. The range is nice.

    Locate Creature: Concentration. The limited range on this spell (1000í compared to Locate Animals or Plantsí 5 miles) makes it even more niche. How often is the problem tracking down a specific creature or creature type when you are already within 1000í? At least there is no saving throw, so if that particular situation does crop up, you only need to worry about shapeshifting andÖ Running water? Really? Yes, really.

    Polymorph: Concentration. There are two basic uses for this spell. It can buff an ally, or it can debuff an enemy. This is your excuse to get some cool beasts, like dinosaurs, onto the battlefield, because there is no requirement that youíve seen these beasts before (unlike wild shape). Of course, the caster would have to know of the beast to pick it, so visit some scholars who do palaeontology (or some equivalent) in your downtime if theyíve gone extinct. If dinosaurs are too high CR, look in the ĎOn Beastsí spoiler for options by CR up to 6.
    Most of the buffed allyís abilities disappear, so a worthwhile target could be someone conserving their spells, or a ranged attacker who needs to step into melee, or perhaps a tank too low on hp to stay in the front line. The spell gives them a fresh hp pool as normal for the creature chosen. You can get pretty decent CR beasts, as you can pick a CR up to the targetís level. This, too, points to dinosaurs, as contemporary beasts generally have CRs of four or less. Also note the CR 7 Giant Ape.
    For the debuff, you want to turn enemies into something that wonít give you trouble. An obvious choice is a Quipper, a fish, with zero ground movement. This will give you about seven rounds before the fish suffocates, and the target assumes its normal form again. Other aquatic options with better constitution (and therefore longer time before they suffocate) exist, but they are also more dangerous to blunder next to. So weigh your options in advance, and donít keep the table waiting any longer than they have to.
    An option that gives you more time is the frog. It has no attack, and only 20í movement. You donít want to lose track of your foe, either, so this choice depends a lot on where you are. The DM may well choose to have the target behave appropriately for the selected beast, so it may simply run off and hide. If the DM will let you choose an unstatted creature, you could consider a tortoise, a phasmid (stick insect or walking stick), or a sloth, depending on the area youíre in.
    Don't be surprised if smart opponents react to their leader being turned into a frog by whacking him, though. That would bring him back in the fight quickly.
    Note that you can summon pixies with Conjure Woodland Beings to cast this for you.

    Stone Shape: Instantaneously turns stone (up to a certain size) into the shape you want. This is one of those versatile spells, which can do so much if you can only think of it (and if you donít annoy the DM too much). You can get various items you need, get through walls, undermine columns, strengthen weak structures, make heavy things movable or cumbersome, wall off a small compartment, impress people with instant art, smooth the rough or rough the smooth, and so on and on.

    Stoneskin: Concentration. Resistance to nonmagical weapon attacks. Itís expensive, but if you can afford it, it is a wonderful defensive buff for heavy fighting.
    It is worth noting, however, that it does not always outperform the simple Barkskin. If Barkskin raises your AC enough to halve the enemiesí chance to hit, it does better, does it cheaper, and for a lesser spell slot. Magical weapons and many spells have to overcome AC as well, and they would not be subject to Stoneskin. But we are talking fairly niche circumstances, here, such as goblin archers at long range (+4 to-hit with disadvantage) against a brown bear wild shape (AC 11, or 16 with Barkskin). Generally speaking, if youíre being challenged, Stoneskin is very likely to be stronger, but possibly not quite as much as youíd think.

    Wall of Fire: Concentration. A 60í wall of a shape of your choosing, or a 20í radius circle. The wall has two sides, a safe, and a searing side, and you pick which is which. For maximum damage with no save, you want to put the wall in a place, where people canít get more than 10í away from the searing side, unless they pass through the wall. This forces the damage without a save. The wall also blocks line of sight, so you can use that to your advantage.
    This spell can split opposing groups and deal damage, not so bad for a wall spell Ė although the split is predicated on the enemy not accepting the damage. If you can force the no-save conditions on the enemy, the damage amount is good for the level, though it will come after the enemy gets to act or while they act. And the type is still fire.
    If you can find ways to get opponents to take the damage more than once, this spell will have done quite good damage for the slot. If you have friends who like Shove or other ways to control enemy movement, make good use of them.

    Watery Sphere (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. A rather peculiar AoE control spell, potentially letting you restrain and move beings of size large or smaller around without harming them. It can conceivably be used to get a group of beings off a cliff or other drop without taking damage.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-01-03 at 10:55 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 6

    Druid Spell Analysis Continued
    Spoiler: Spell Level 5
    Show
    Antilife Shell: Concentration. For someone who wants to avoid melee while retaining options for ranged attacks and spell effects, this could be the very spell. Exactly what happens if someone is inside the AoE with you when the spell is cast should be interpreted by the DM, as the language is a little ambiguous. If you can use this to protect more than yourself, the usefulness increases considerably. But anyone who leaves the barrier (or gets left behind when you move with it) canít get back in. In combat, it would be mechanically impossible to walk side by side 30í in a round, for instance. The DM may choose to be lenient, but youíll have to ask.
    Regardless, this spell is heavily defensive and specialized (non-reach melee attacks from living creatures are kept out perfectly, and nothing else is affected). Under the right circumstances, it can turn a lethal situation on its head, creating a safe fortress for your party to fight from. But in many other circumstances it is less than useful. It hinders you alliesí movement as much as your enemiesí. Iíd prepare it with a specific reason in mind, or if I wanted a panic button, but likely not as a general adventuring spell.

    Awaken: This is one way for a druid to get a (semi-)permanent ally, whether beast or plant. The cost is considerable and the casting time long, so itís not something done on a whim. The effect is also conditional on the DMís ruling, as it mainly applies the Ďcharmedí condition to the awakened creature. It seems it ought to last indefinitely, as long as the target is treated well. But how faithful is the target after? A tree in the druidís grove could conceivably be expected to watch over the grove, perhaps even fight to defend it while the druid was gone. What about more ruminant creatures? And could large predators be relied on to leave innocent people alone?
    There are more question up to the DM to answer: Can the druid bring the target along for adventures? How would that affect XP? How brave would the target be? Who would control it, and would it take actions to give it orders/suggestions? What is the natural behaviour of an awakened creature?
    All in all, this is a highly subjective spell, which may well differ wildly in its uses from table to table. But it is also a highly druidic spell, with superlative D&D druid fluff.

    Commune with Nature: Ritual. This spell serves mainly to get your bearings quickly in a new area. Most of the things it does can be accomplished by non-magical means (and spending more time), often by walking through the area. It does do one particular thing you canít expect to hike your way to: It can show if there is any planar influence in the area (whatever that means, exactly). And it can tell about various powerful creatures in the area before you encounter them. It could conceivably make it easier to pretend you are a local, if that is of importance.
    Itís a niche spell, and Iíd prepare it when I had particular reasons, not for general adventure. It is also a spell that can annoy the DM if you cast it in an area that isnít fully developed, or not completely read up on, or only partially recollected Ė or just very intricate and detailed. Imagine casting this on the edge of Westgate or Waterdeep (large, detailed Forgotten Realms cities, with plenty of supernatural influences and things that can ping on this spellís radar). You might want to alert the DM to your intention to prepare this spell.

    Conjure Elemental: Concentration. Another minion-making spell. See the ĎOn Elementalsí spoiler in post 2 for options. Note the casting time of 1 minute, and that you must have a considerable amount of the element in question to hand. Air and earth are unlikely to be a problem, but you may want to prepare yourself if you like to conjure fire or water elementals.
    Also note that the elemental could break free if you lose Concentration, and whether it attacks you in that case is left for the DM to decide. If you can speak to the elemental, and if you treated it respectfully, you may be able to talk your way out of being attacked, but it will all be very DM dependent.

    Contagion: This spell has received considerable errata and clarification to its original print version. When first cast, it applies the poisoned condition if it hits. Then the saves start, and once you get to three successes or failures, the spell either ends (on successes) or starts your choice of one of six diseases (on failures). The poisoned condition ends regardless. Since the disease effects include Slimy Doom (which among other things stuns the target every time it takes any hp damage, no save), this is a heavy duty debuff, which can shut down nearly anyone unfortunate enough to fail the saves.
    Without the errata, the spell is still very strong for hit-and-run (which druids can be very good at), but with errata it is very much worth considering in a more regular combat situation. The poisoned condition forces disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks, so non-casters suffer noticeably. The better target is one you want to penalize, but which you also expect to survive long enough that the lengthy saving throw process gets to play out (hency hit-and-run tactics working so well with this spell).
    A heads-up: No creature type is inherently immune to disease in 5th edition. Iron golems, skeletons, and air elementals are all equally as subject to disease as humanoids, beasts, and plants.

    Control Winds (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Comparable to Control Water, but since there is air nearly everywhere, this spell is that much more likely to be useful.
    It has a big AoE and good range. That makes it a terror to fliers, knocking them prone on failed strength saves (presumably causing fall damage). It can also be used to put disadvantage to missile attacks. And it can help people jump 10í higher. Not an everyday spell, but if you know you will be facing fliers, this can be a strong BC effect with a damage rider and some additional uses.

    Geas: This spell is not wholly reliable for the command given. The threat is 5d10 psychic damage once per day. If the creature has 51 hp and takes a daily long rest, they can technically wait this spell out safely, while continuing to defy the command. With any bit of allies healing them, the threat becomes even smaller. And then there is the whole issue of the spell being removed by someone else. So this is a means of controlling someone of less resources or contacts than you might like. And if they screw up, they might well die.
    On the upside, it is a thirty-day charm (or a year to permanent with higher spell slots). Anyone charmed by you canít attack you, and you get advantage on social skill check against them. Unlike lower level charms, you may get to cast this without angering the target.
    This spell is not for combat use (though that might have come in handy now and again) given its 1 minute casting time. The intended use is likely to seal a deal, or lay down a command on someone you cannot keep an eye on all the time, such as a prisoner you are about to let go.

    Greater Restoration: A rare (and a little expensive, 100gp diamond dust) opportunity to remove fatigue without resting. Itís a good spell for getting rid of all sorts of icky effects that wonít yield to Lesser Restoration. But Greater Restoration does not actually replace Lesser Restoration, which still deals with plenty of annoying conditions and effects.

    Insect Plague: Concentration. Minor BC, minor damage, medium AoE, good range. The question I canít answer is Ďwhy?í. This spell seems so paltry. It is similar to Wall of Fire (AoE damage, BC), and has a few differences (doesnít block line of sight, creates an area of difficult terrain, causes piercing damage rather than fire, different AoE). I could see some cases where this spell might be useful, but most of those deal with mobs of minor creatures that could be dealt with by other spells. Maybe itís the image, or the deniability thatís supposed to play for it. In general, this seems too inflexible and too weak to be worth preparing over other options.

    Maelstrom (EEPC, XGtE): Concentration. Unimpressive damage (and save for none), a small control effect, and some difficult terrain. Not likely to be worth a 5th level slot, as it tries to be too many things and ends up doing them all poorly.

    Mass Cure Wounds: Heals up to six targets at once. Compared to the efficiency of other healing spells, it does pretty good in total numbers, if it heals to full capacity. Assuming 6 targets (the maximum) and 20 wisdom, it heals 111 hp on average, 18.5 per target. Thatís serious healing for a fifth level slot and a single action. But it is a best-case scenario. For one thing, how many people are in the party? In many cases that number is just four. And is everyone even injured? Damage doesnít seem to add up so evenly across most groups. And anyone with less than 15 hp lost is almost bound to get overhealed, further reducing the actual efficiency of the spell.
    This is something of a niche healing spell, despite the impressive numbers. If itís a big party, or you regularly have a lot of fighting minions that could soak up some healing usefully, it may be worth preparing on a regular day. If you do use it, Iíd suggest keeping an eye on just how much you actually get for your trouble, so you know youíre not wasting your magical potential.
    There is one case, however, which fully qualifies this spell for daily preparation, depending on whether the group sees it often. If you regularly find yourself with something like three members of your party unconscious from hp damage, this spell gets all three back on their feet in one swoop. But if youíre in such dire straits that this happens often, Iíd consider that a possible sign that something isnít working as intended. See the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí in post 4 for a more detailed analysis and comparison of healing spells.

    Planar Binding: At the cost of 1000gp, you can keep a summoned elemental or fey (or someone else's outsider) for longer than the Conjure X spells otherwise allow, and without using Concentration. Thus you avoid the risk of losing control, too. The duration for Planar Binding starts at 24 hours, and goes up when you use higher level slots on it. That makes the spell all the more cost effective with higher level slots. Elementals arenít too bright in general, but smarter than animals, so you may be able to use them for independent missions. The Invisible Stalker is practically made for messenger or assassination missions, e.g. Some fey are very intelligent, possibly dangerously so.
    The sticky part of using this spell on your own summons is that it has a casting time of one hour. This means you must start casting it as soon as you've summoned your minion, and that you use Concentration while casting. This means setting the minion free. How it then behaves is up to the DM, so being able to speak with it should give you an edge. Otherwise, you have a lot to gain by teaming up with another caster. You may want to ask the DM what to expect using this spell, as there may be a different interpretation at your table.
    Another thing the DM may want to think about is whether bringing a bound outsider along on adventures costs a share of the XP. It is fairly similar to hiring an NPC for 1000gp. The gold cost may be sufficient, but you should ask before you risk depriving party members of a grudging share of XP.

    Reincarnate: Inferior to the cleric's Raise Dead, with two possible exceptions. The recently deceased will be fit to go adventuring without penalties right away with Reincarnation, and it sidesteps any curses or magical diseases on the target, unlike Raise Dead. Most people will want to retain their original species, but some players love randomness. Anyway, this is the only way druids can bring people back from the dead before they get True Resurrection (a 9th level spell).

    Scrying: Concentration. You will need to go shopping for a focus, though it may be difficult to come up with a thematically appropriate one for a druid.
    But Scrying is a very useful tool to have in your back pocket. You can use it for any number of things, but the ability to get a sense of what youíre up against is of course particularly useful to a prepared caster like the druid. Note that you can see as if you were at the location you scry on, so you can cast spells that help you perceive better. Unfortunately, youíre already using your Concentration for Scrying, but there are still some spells (Darkvision and Detect Disease and Poison spring to mind) that may help your enquiries. And an allied caster could buff you with Enhance Ability, e.g. Ė wisdom or intelligence being the likely options.

    Transmute Rock (EEPC, XGtE): The original EEPC spell description was garbled, but now I have a corrected version in XGtE to look at.
    As a BC spell, it has the good grace to not use Concentration. This alone makes it worth consideration. It is a little situational, in that it requires either rock or mud to function. This isnít so bad, as a lot of fights take place underground or in rocky terrain. The damage option is pretty pathetic for the spell slot, but it just might make sense in certain situations to do it.
    Since the duration is permanent, this spell could be used to prepare an area (ideally early enough to get the spell slot back) for an expected fight. Maybe with Hallucinatory Terrain to cover it up.
    A coastal druid may want to combine the muddy ground with a precast Water Walk on the party, letting them move freely over the mud while the enemy struggles.

    Tree Stride: Concentration. The druidís answer to Dimension Door is unfortunately much less widely applicable. It can be useful enough if you are in a forest, and in that case it can move you much farther than Dimension Door (though without being able to bring anyone along). But in most campaigns, wilderness adventures are only a fraction of those youíll wind up in.
    You can somewhat widen your options with Quaalís Feather Token (Tree). You may need more than one, and obviously the more prep time the better. But thatís a resource costly thing to do, to put it mildly, as well as something itís hard to rely on. But if the DM does put some of those tokens in your way, hereís another use for them.

    Wall of Stone: Concentration. You can do some quick (if crude) construction in stone with this spell. Stone Shape may be helpful in getting crudeness to go away, and to make openings for doors and windows, for instance. Making a bridge is possible in rocky terrain, which may allow you to lure enemies out on it, only to cease concentrating.
    The primary use of Wall of Stone, however, is for battlefield control. You can try to wall off enemies, who get a save to try to avoid getting hemmed in for most situations. You can also use it to cover your partyís rear and flanks, so the enemy canít surround you and can only attack on a small front.
    The wall is little good for serious fortifications, as it can be destroyed with simple weapon attacks, though it does have AC 15 and 90+ hp (depending on thickness).
    Since you can decide the shape of the wall, you may be able to attempt walling off several enemies, and simultaneously give your group some cover.

    Wrath of Nature (XGtE): Concentration. This is a situational spell, but very satisfying when it works. You need to cast it in an area that has grass or undergrowth, trees, and ideally also some loose rocks. If you can get an allied caster to make some sort of barrier to keep the enemy inside the affected area, you can pretty much sit back and let the spell tear your enemies to bits.
    Unfortunately, this spell will often result in enemies pulling out of the affected area, since it rarely makes sense to cast this spell in a confined area. If you are dealing with a creature with poor strength, however, you can hopefully restrain it in the cube with the Roots and Vines effect.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 6
    Show
    Bones of the Earth (EEPC; XGtE): Six (brittle; 30hp) pillars or less rise out of the ground. They can be used to hedge people in or lift them up. If there is a ceiling within 30í, you can catch people between the pillar and the ceiling, causing some damage (not much for the slot), and possibly pinning them. Getting out of the pin is a strength or dex check (not a save, nor Acrobatics or Athletics), which at least makes it less likely a target will get free Ė except that they pick their own check.
    There is some versatility in the spell, as there are plenty of uses for emerging pillars, such as blocking enemies and lifting friends out of danger. If you expect to fight inside, where you can pin people against the ceiling with it, it's a definite contender for preparation. And it doesnít require concentration; nice for a BC effect. But the total effect does come across as somewhat undeserving of a sixth level slot. It may depend very much on whether you feel you have the slots to spend.

    Conjure Fey: Concentration. The highest level minion-making spell you get. Fey are covered in their appropriate spoiler ('On Fey' in post 2), but you can also pick an animal. The options at this level are quite limited. You can get a tyrannosaurus if you cast it with a eighth level slot.
    Note the casting time of 1 minute, and be aware of the risk of losing Concentration and having the conjured minion turn on you.

    Druid Grove (XGtE): Like the fifth level Wrath of Nature, this is a very fluffy spell, which is difficult to put into useful effect, but which feels so good when it does work. It does less well than WoN in keeping enemies inside, and it takes a while to set up, both in and out of game. The player has to make a series of choices about what effects exactly are present and where. And the druid must spend ten minutes casting. On the plus side, it doesnít take concentration, and it lasts a full 24 hours. The fog alone can function like multiple Improved Invisibility spells, at least for those who donít need to close to melee.
    Unless an opponent has a reason to push into the affected area and fight it out there, you have little hope of making this spell work to its fullest. The awakened (but not Awakened) trees are vulnerable to attack from outside, so try to make sure they have some fog to hide in or behind.

    Find the Path: Concentration. I wonít say that youíll never cast this spell, but this is unspectacular, niche, and well beneath what I would expect for a sixth level slot. The Concentration requirement makes it even worse.

    Heal: 70 hp healing with an action, and removal of two conditions and disease. In battle, this is sufficient healing in one go to make it worth consideration, and all the more so if it wipes out some annoying effect. Even out of battle, this could come into effect if you are out of goodberries and second level slots for Healing Spirit.
    Technically castable with higher spell slots for increased effects, but the returns are diminished. See the spoiler ĎOn Spells that Restore Hit Pointsí above for a more detailed analysis and comparison of healing spells.

    Heroesí Feast: Expensive and time consuming, but a way to make todayís spell slot buff tomorrow. The buffs are pretty varied, including immunity to poison and fear, advantage on wisdom saves, and some temporary hit points.

    Investiture of Flame (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. Immunity to fire and resistance to cold could be a really good defensive buff if you know itís coming up. The extra fire damage to people is cute for a moon druid, but the amount is rather paltry. OTOH, moon druids canít turn down extra damage lightly. The line of fire compares poorly to Sunbeam (of the same level), so that wonít be the main reason for picking this spell. But it should be possible to activate even in wild shape, though you still need to cast the spell before shifting shape.

    Investiture of Ice (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. Immunity to cold and resistance to fire could be a really good defensive buff if you know itís coming up. Ignoring slippery ice is highly situational, more so for land druids who have Land Stride. Making the area within 10í of you difficult terrain is a fun little item; wild shaped druids like that the enemy are obstructed in manoeuvring away, and caster form druids like that getting closer is difficult. Itís not great, though, and your allies are also affected. The cone of freezing deals too little damage to compare to Sunbeam (also sixth level), so it wonít be the main reason to cast this spell. But it should be possible to activate even in wild shape, though you still need to cast the spell before shifting shape.

    Investiture of Stone (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. Stoneskin for the duration without the component cost, and some extra little things tagged on; like moving through earth (but not too far, and not between turns). For moon druids who arenít taking the form of an earth elemental around now, this could very well be their buff of choice. Itís much more situational for a land druid, but definitely not without its uses.

    Investiture of Wind (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. Decent speed flying and a defensive buff against missile weapons, making it a likely combat flight spell. The damage effect is weak, but it does have a control effect, so that part is situationally useful.

    Move Earth: Concentration. Not your everyday spell, but itís an interesting tool you can drum up. It should be useful in various construction and fortification schemes, and help to cover or uncover bodies, buried treasure, dungeons, Wells of Souls (mind the snakes), etc. It specifies that it does not disrupt plant life, which is of course important to many a druid.

    Primordial Ward (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. The short duration is a pain, but it is a remarkably useful spell. No need to guess at the type of resistance youíll need (though no help against necrotic, radiant, poison or psychic), and outright immunity to damage types isnít that easy to come by. Itís a spell to take note of, but probably not an everyday spell.

    Sunbeam: Concentration. Weíre back to damage over time spells. This one has a new AoE (line) and a wonderful damage type (radiant). It also comes with a blinding debuff for one round to anyone failing their save. It does require you to get pretty close to the enemy. Having Longstrider up, and anything else you can think of to boost your mobility, should help make the most of this spell, and/or keep you as safe as possible while using it.
    The spell also causes you to radiate real sunlight, discomfiting any nearby creatures subject to that particular vulnerability (undead and subterranean species mostly). It also makes it hard or impossible to hide, so there are swings and roundabouts.
    At least, this is a pretty definite, not-situational use for your sixth level spell slots. There isnít as much competition for making the prepared spell list for an adventuring day on this level as on the previous five.

    Transport via Plants: The druidic version of Teleport. Itís a level sooner, and can potentially transport more people. On the downside, it requires a nearby plant, and it can only get you to places youíve seen or touched, and there must be plants there too. Ask your DM whether the exit plant must be of a certain size as well, as the text doesnít specify. Combine with Scrying to widen your potential destination list.
    That you canít use this to get out of a sticky situation in most dungeons is a blow in the comparison with Teleport. If you can get your hand on a Quaalís Feather Token (tree), you can Transport via Plants in two rounds, as long as youíre outside, and as long as you have tokens to spend. If the DM rules fungi as plants, you may find some subterranean entries and exits, but you will generally be stuck aboveground. Not that this isnít a very useful spell, as it will still cut large chunks of travel out of your life, and let you and your party respond quickly to situations virtually all over the plane.

    Wall of Thorns: Concentration. Much the same as Wall of Fire, but with a different damage type (piercing initially, then slashing). It doesnít have the ability to damage people standing near it as the WoF does. But it does cost 4 feet of movement to move 1 foot through the WoT. WoF has a no-save possibility for damage, which the WoT lack. And a WoF cast with a sixth level slot causes the same amount of damage as WoT.
    All in all, the biggest difference between the walls is the damage type, which greatly affects which creatures are susceptible to it. Magical slashing and piercing are much more reliable than fire, but the fire wall can be cast with 4th level slots or higher, while thorn wall needs at least 6th level slots.

    Wind Walk: You and a bunch of friends turn into clouds, which canít attack or cast spells, but fly at a really fast 300í speed. Since this isnít a Concentration spell, you could couple it with Find the Path. For actual travel from A to B, Transport via Plants is generally superior, but for scouting an area, sending people to various locations, and more, there are advantages in this spell.
    A noteworthy drawback is that it takes a full minute to revert to normal form after being a cloud. Wind Walk is therefore something of a liability in combat drops.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 7
    Show
    Firestorm: Nice range, large and flexible AoE, not so good damage, and the usual caveat of fire as a damage type Ė it is among the most resisted or immunized by MM monsters. This spell is very effective against a vast horde of weaker creatures, possibly incinerating the lot in one casting. But against creatures closer to your own capacities, the damage is not impressive. So unless you have reason to believe youíll need it, you should probably leave this out of your prepared list.
    The fact that you can cast this spell so it does not affect plants in the area is a nice touch for druids.
    Note that this is one attack spell that canít be cast for a higher effect for a higher spell slot.

    Mirage Arcane: An upgraded version of Hallucinatory Terrain, with tactile sensation added, a larger area of effect, and longer duration. On the downside, it cannot radically alter the looks of an area the way the lesser spell can.

    Planeshift: Yes, this spell will indeed let you shift to another plane (with friends), so no surprises there. Acquiring the focuses for the various planes may be easy or hard depending on the campaign. Let me just say that first priority is to get one that can get you back home.
    Planeshift is able to tap into teleportation circles as destinations, so you could cast this spell twice, in order to appear at your current plane in a circle you know the cipher for (see the Teleportation Circle for details on that Ė you should have some allies willing to trust you by now). You can also do general teleportation by plane-hopping back to the plane you want a destination on. This is of course mostly for cases, where you are the partyís teleporter, and need to stretch your options.
    The spell can also be used to send an unwilling creature to another plane. Itís something of a gamble, as it involves both landing a melee spell attack, and them failing a save. This probably makes more sense as an effect used against a restrained target, or at least taking precautions to push the odds of both rolls in your favour first. On the other hand, most people sent to a different plane are out of your hair for good. Especially if you pick a plane they wonít do well on.

    Regenerate: Heals hp and grows back missing extremities. The hit points this spell can potentially heal is enormous Ė 3d8+615 over an hour. But thatís theory. Itís a buff to consider for the partyís main damage sponge (which may well be you if youíre a moon druid), all the more since it doesnít take Concentration.

    Reverse Gravity: Concentration. Among the most darkly amusing damage spells in the game, reverse gravity offers more than mere chuckles. It has decent range, good AoE, and can potentially pack a terrific wallop Ė 20d6 damage under perfect circumstances. Crawford says that fall damage is a perfect damage type. Flying creatures probably have ways to avoid this damage, although the spell doesnít specify. It may depend on how nimble they are. Do note that taking damage from falling means you end up prone. Not a big deal, but you should milk it for all the pratfalls you can get, right?
    In the open, or when there is a ceiling less than 100í high (or in other words, nearly always), the damage drops accordingly. But the BC effect remains, and it may actually be worse for someone who makes the save, as a successful save means you manage to grab hold of something, and so are dangling over a reversed gravity area. Well, they avoid the damage at least. It could be that there will be no save, if it is cast in sufficiently featureless surroundings, but thatís rather DM dependent.
    If youíre casting this mostly for the damage, remember that you can end Concentration at any time without an action. This also means you can drop the spell at an opportune moment (like when the poor saps that got smacked in the face with the ceiling have just got their bows out to try and shoot at your party), even when itís not your turn.

    Whirlwind (EEPC; XGtE): Concentration. Big damage over time, debuff, and control, all in one, neat package. It does seem to need 30í of space vertically (especially after the errata), and some of its effects donít work on Huge enemies. But other than that, you have acquired a vast and violent vacuum cleaner, and you will love it. Tell your friends!


    Spoiler: Spell Level 8
    Show
    Animal Shapes: Concentration. This is like a mass wildshape effect. It doesnít seem to be a very strong option on the individual level, but it does allow you to transform a big group of little or no combat capability into beasts of CR 4 or less, retaining their minds (though the size requirement actually blocks CR 4, as those beasts are Huge). If you ever need a herd of giant scorpions, this is exactly the right spell for it. And you can turn those scorps into owls and back again by spending your actions. Iím having trouble seeing how this would fit into a normal adventuring day, but the options are of course legion on a mass battlefield, in construction, for mass infiltration or escape, etc.

    Antipathy/Sympathy: While no doubt useful in certain zany scheme, the first use that springs to my mind is battlefield disruption. If the enemy troops suddenly break formations, with many of them running forwards or away, the chaos should be very exploitable. It may even cause a panic and rout if sufficiently unexpected.
    The area of effect is potentially enormous, 60í or within sight. And you can cast the spell well in advance, and so have your spell slot and spell preparation spot available for the battle. Pick an object that can be hidden easily, and held up for clear viewing when the timing is right.
    Of course, an effect like this can be used to frighten and affect halflings trying to pass a ghostly city on their way up a narrow, steep stair, too. It never seems to work, though.

    Control Weather: Concentration. Use this to help the local peasants with drought, punish them with hail and turn hurricanes on or off. Changing the weather takes time, and you canít turn, e.g., a calm, sweltering heat wave into a howling blizzard if the dice are really against you. If you can, it will take hours.
    Extreme cold and heat can lead to exhaustion of people not able to cope with such weather. It seems the major effect, however, is the winds. Strong enough winds make it impossible to fly very much Ė fliers who donít land between rounds fall.
    If youíre at sea, weather is of course highly important to movement and survival, though by now the chance youíll need to go anywhere by ship has dropped dramatically.
    Weather effects can be found in the DMG, p. 110, and 118-119 for maritime weather.

    Earthquake: Concentration. This spell is a lot like Sleet Storm, but gives a much larger rush of blood to your ego. Stern wrath or maniacal laughter is encouraged. As a BC spell, it can really inconvenience people caught in it; more so if the DM puts fissures in their way; and much more so if there are buildings near them that the spell causes to collapse. Flying creatures are presumably exempt from these problems, where Sleet Storm has some height as well.
    Earthquake deals 50 hp damage per round to Ďstructuresí caught in it. Unfortunately, Iíve been unable to find out how many hp buildings have. A galley or warship has 500 hp, and so would be destroyed over the full duration, and any siege equipment is even more vulnerable, if these are considered Ďstructuresí and caught in the spell. A Wall of Stone panel (a 10 foot long section) has up to 180 hp.

    Feeblemind: Shuts down the targetís spell-casting and use of magical items, and reduces intelligence and charisma to 1. Thereís a save to resist. It also deals some minor psychic damage with no save. Noticeably, the saving throw is Intelligence, which means the most obvious targets, wizards, are both proficient in the save and can be expected to have a high modifier. Clerics, on the other hand, are much easier targets. This goes for MM NPCs aping these classes, too. As a druid, you are at least proficient in the save (the NPC druid isnít).
    The spell is potentially crippling for many powerful creatures, but is also nearly an all-or-nothing affair. The chance that you will encounter a good target that day is also a matter for consideration.

    Sunburst: Direct AoE damage and a debuff rider. Decent range, good AoE, wonderful damage type, and a 1-minute-but-save-ends blindness debuff. The damage is much less than a perfect Reverse Gravity, but who dares hope for that? Undead and oozes have disadvantage on the save.

    Tsunami: Concentration. I was surprised to find that this spell can be cast anywhere thereís 300í of space upwards. Water is provided for your convenience.
    Itís a BC spell with added damage over time, pushing people caught in it away. Creatures larger than Huge wonít get caught up in the ongoing BC effect, but Huge or less can be affected. Those caught in the wave can use Athletics checks against the save DC to move out, so for many targets this is not a reliable counter.
    It seems to me that there are just a bit too many chances to get out of the AoE for this to be really good. And targets get an initial Strength save for half of 6d10 damage, and then each round gets a strength save to take no damage. The damage levels off by 1d10 per round from the initial 6d10.
    The spell is likely meant to be used on a mass battlefield, considering the casting time, range and large AoE.
    The height of the spell may make it a counter to flying enemies, as anyone escaping from the wave is specifically said to Ďfall to the groundí. Interpretation is needed (Fall damage? Can fliers avoid it?), so it depends on the DM.


    Spoiler: Spell Level 9
    Show
    Foresight: A major buff for defences, and also buffs attack rolls. It also gives immunity to surprise. The duration is nice, and without taking Concentration. People who make attack rolls and get attacked a lot make the most of this, so more likely to be for buffing a moon druid than a land druid. If you are of the latter persuasion, the partyís front fighter is likely to be a better target than you.

    Shapechange: Concentration. This is a lot like wildshape, except you arenít limited to beasts or elementals, and you can change it again as you like with an action. You donít get legendary actions, and you donít get access to the formís spell-casting. Another abuse-stopper is that you donít get fresh hit points when you pick a second (or third, fourth...) form.
    But you can pick and choose from any creature with a CR equal to or less than your own level. Thereís no mention of your own spell-casting, so presumably you can cast freely, except if your new form canít speak (which would render you unable to perform verbal components). Until level 20, when you ignore most components via Archdruid.

    Storm of Vengeance: Concentration. Looks impressive, but is very niche. At this point you can already wreck communities with storms and earthquakes, and eradicate large groups of lesser foes with Fire Storm. Storm of Vengeance wants to do this too, and it can Ė unless the enemy runs away first. As such, itís a tool you already have, and an unwieldy one at that, given the duration. And it will cost you your 9th level spell slot.
    Only round three comes close to the sort of thing you would demand from a ninth level AoE damage spell. Thatís much too long to wait, as well as being mediocre lightning damage with a dex save for half, 6 targets maximum. The rest can deal only with minor foes, and slowly, to the tune of 3.5 to 7 average damage per round. The BC effect doesnít happen until round 5, at which time most of the targets will have left the AoE. There is a minor debuff on the first round, but it is only deafening, and there is a save.
    I guess what it has going for it is the very long range and the very large AoE. Itís not enough to convince me, though.

    True Resurrection: The ultimate in bringing people back from the dead, and with a appropriately steep cost, too (25k gp). Hopefully, you can use a cheaper option, but if youíre the only resurrector available, then this avoids the chaos of Reincarnation. It also bypasses nearly all reasons why the lesser spells would fail to work, and deals with curses, poisons and loss of body parts, bringing the target back at full hp.
    Still takes an hour to cast, though.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-11-17 at 09:50 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 7

    Land Druid Circle Spells
    Land druids gain access to certain spells not on the main druid list. They are gathered in the spoiler here in alphabetical order. The parentheses indicate spell level and the land circle(s) that grant(s) access to the spell.
    Once you get them, these spells will be permanently attached to your prepared spells list. So when evaluating these, I pay extra attention to versatility.
    Spoiler: Land Druid Circle Spells
    Show
    Blur (2, Desert): Concentration. Defensive Buff that causes disadvantage on attack rolls against the target. Casting this when you need to be the damage sponge can save a lot of slots in healing if you pick the right fight. It will almost inevitably outperform Barkskin in the short run, but then Barkskin lasts 60 times longer.
    Itís a decent defensive buff, and worth having, at least around the level you get it. Later, itís mostly an on-demand way to shut down sneak attacks, should you run up against those.

    Cloudkill (5, Underdark): Concentration. Damage over time with a BC element, as the cloud obscures heavily. The damage amount is about what you would expect, but the type is poison, and therefore likely to fail you. The area of effect is also somewhat unwieldy. Admittedly, this spell can be a terror if everything lines up in its favour: The DM rules that obscurement means no looking out of the cloud too. And that the cloud stops when it reaches a solid barrier and doesnít flatten against it. And that the enemies stay inside that area. And that they are susceptible to poison. If all those things fall in place, this spell will wreck them and their ability to hit back.
    Can you expect the situations you encounter to conform well enough to it be worth having this spell on your list permanently? I think not.

    Cone of Cold (5, Arctic): Cold damage dealing is surprisingly rare on the druid list, and as such a welcome addition. The AoE is also a rarity, although you could emulate it to some degree with some of your more flexible spells. And the damage is decent enough, if you consider the capacity to hit multiple foes. As instant damage dealing spells go, you could do far worse than Cone of Cold.

    Create Food and Water (3, Desert): Between Goodberry (and if the DM rules that doesnít provide fluids, Create or Destroy Water), you already have this covered. And in most campaigns, food is going to be a non-problem anyway. You certainly donít need it filling up your prepared spells list on an everyday basis.

    Darkness (2, Swamp): Concentration. BC spell comparable to Fog Cloud. This one is potentially movable, but on the other hand it cannot pretend to be natural, so itís bound to attract attention. A point in its favour is that it can be turned off temporarily by covering the targeted object. In a ranged contest, for instance, you could go for turning it off while your side shoots, and turning it on when the enemy shoots, (with a Ready Action if initiative otherwise prevents).
    It is not the greatest of spells to have permanently on your list, competing as it does for your Concentration, and considering BC options that come available as you advance, but there are far worse possibilities.

    Divination (4, Forest, Grassland): Ritual. Attempts an answer about things to happen in the next week. Problematically, the more shrewdly you ask, the more likely it is that the DM is simply stumped for an answer. Though a ritual, casting this spell multiple times between long rests comes with a risk of getting a false reading. It also costs 25gp per casting, though that should not be prohibitive unless you cast it virtually daily.
    This is a hard spell to judge. Very much is up to the DM, both in willingness and ability to predict, and just as much up to your ability to ask good questions. At its best it is a huge boon, and at its worst itís a waste of spells, money and effort.

    Dream (5, Grassland): The ability to communicate in dreams with known persons on the same plane, or attack them. Itís a nice thing to have in your arsenal, allowing quick communication despite distances and whereabouts that could hinder it. It can also be used to attempt to kill known characters with sufficiently few hp. NPC stats for acolytes, commoners and nobles are all well within the capacity for this spell to murder.
    So all in all, itís a spell that gives you more options. But it is not a spell youíll be casting so often that itís a good thing to have it permanently on your prepared list.

    Gaseous Form (3, Underdark): Concentration. The ability to turn someone gaseous has multiple uses. It can help hide someone, help infiltrate a place, help protect the target (as being gaseous has numerous defensive advantages), and it lets them fly, albeit slowly. All in all a good and versatile spell.

    Greater Invisibility (4, Underdark): Concentration. Strong defensive buff, and if youíre into making attack rolls, it buffs those too. A particular favourite of rogues, who can sneak attack to their greedy little heartsí content with this on. And being invisible, albeit for a fairly short time, can be used for stealthy purposes, too, of course.
    Totally worth it.

    Haste (3, Grassland): Concentration. Strong offensive buff, with some good defensive and manoeuvrability uses too. As a land druid, youíre less likely to use this on yourself, though it isnít out of the question. Someone who can make the most of the extra attack is the most likely candidate, though, and they will love it. Note that when the spell ends, the target effectively loses a round.
    Only the dead have seen the end of casting Haste.

    Invisibility (2, Grassland): Concentration. Hour-long duration stealth buff. Multiple targets when using higher level spell slots. It can also be considered an offensive and defensive buff, but it ends as soon as you cast a spell or attack, so it wonít work like that for long. By the time you get it, and for some levels after, you can still get some mileage out of your wildshape for combat purposes, and activating that doesnít break invisibility.
    There are many, many uses for Invisibility.

    Lightning Bolt (3, Mountain): AoE lightning damage, a decent amount for an instantaneous spell. By the time you get it, this can devastate groups of foes, as long as they canít find a way to handle it. Due to the AoE shape (a line), the ability to target this spell in a convenient way is somewhat dependent on your mobility. The spell makes long, narrow hallways a terror through the mid levels.
    Good enough.

    Melfís Acid Arrow (2, Swamp): Acid damage is fairly rare, and not so often resisted. The amount, however, is rather paltry, especially since some of it comes after the target gets to act. Compared to Heat Metal (which you have) or Scorching Ray (which you donít have), this spell falls well behind in impressiveness. By the time the damage type begins to be important, you will likely have moved on to other spells.
    Not worthless, but not so good either.

    Mirror Image (2, Coast): A nice defensive buff, mostly because it does not require Concentration. Commonly touted as a great spell, but I canít really rate it much above average from my experience. It comes with some noticeable drawbacks: The duration is so short, you will likely have to cast it in competition with spells that would work towards ending the encounter, because it will be unusual for you to be able to cast this before a battle (where buffing ideally takes place). The short duration also means it can burn through your spell slots faster than you would like. Finally, it would be a better fit to a moon druid than a land druid. You should have other ways to keep yourself safe, positioning being the most cost effective.
    That said, this is a spell that can see use in many combat scenarios, and those shouldnít be in short supply, so the permanent space of a lesser panic button on the prepared spell list is acceptable.

    Misty Step (2, Coast): Bonus action short range teleport. Itís excellent for getting you out of trouble, through a wall of force, safely over a chasm, etc. Remember that you canít cast a spell both with your action and bonus action in the same round, not counting cantrips.

    Passwall (5, Mountain): As you might expect, this is used for getting through walls and other stone or construction, up to 20í per casting. The hole disappears when the duration runs out, and the magic keeps the structure stable, so you donít risk (and you canít cause) a collapse. Itís an interesting option for putting a twist on a dungeon crawl, and can of course be used to get in and out of many places you werenít meant to go. But it is rather situational for a permanent place on your prepared spell list.

    Silence (2, Desert): Concentration. An immobile area of utter silence comes into being. While this stops most spellcasting (as it prevents verbal components), you can usually walk out before casting, as the AoE isnít too big. That it canít be moved also makes it a lot less useful, as it canít be used to sneak about with.
    The best use of this is likely to lay it down over a caster, and then restrict their movement (perhaps via grapple), so they canít escape. Plan it in advance with your team mates, as you may be unable to communicate once the Silence is cast. Also remember that you and the party are as spell-less in the AoE as any enemy, and that there are a few spells that donít require verbal components. Counterspell and Hypnotic Pattern are two Iíd keep in mind for Silence purposes.

    Slow (3, Arctic): Concentration. Multi-debuff (affecting both attacks and defence), wisdom save ends. But what a debuff! People from previous editions might expect this to affect spellcasters little, but it is quite as harsh on them as it is on other foes. Affects up to six creatures.
    Slow is good, and worth having on your daily list.

    Spider Climb (2, Forest, Mountain, Underdark): Concentration. By itself, this isnít such a bad spell. It lets you get to places otherwise hard or impossible to reach, and can often be used to be immune to enemy melee by climbing up a wall out of reach. The first half is something druids have covered via wildshape since level 2 (spider forms do this naturally). The second half is still a thing, but low level druids in particular are rather dependent on their Concentration for their best combat spells. In combination, this makes an otherwise decent spell a lot less useful to druids compared to other classes.

    Stinking Cloud (3, Swamp, Underdark): Concentration. Nasty BC that can seriously inconvenience targets for a little while, unless they are immune to poison. The main problem with this spell is that it does not prevent anyone from leaving, even if they lose their action to the spellís effect. The next round they are likely free to act. Still, if you can get enough enemies inside the AoE, you will cause sufficiently many of them to lose an action for this to be worth doing. And if you have friends that like to use control effects, maybe they can push enemies back into the cloud for further effect. Once you get to level 10, you can go in the cloud yourself, and maybe use Thorn Whip to pull people back in.
    The main use of this spell is against large groups of enemies, the more the better. It is also an area denial spell. That should come in handy in a lot of fights, so the spell rates decently for being permanently on your prepared spell list.

    Web (2, Underdark): Concentration. A slightly stronger version of Entangle. It can last a lot longer, it can add some height, and it affects creatures that enter the area after the initial casting (which is a double-edged sword, as it affects your party too). It does have some small drawbacks (besides being a higher level spell): It is susceptible to fire. And those in the spell donít save until itís their own turn, which delays the onset of the Restrained condition a bit, and means you wonít know immediately who will be affected.
    Good BC spell, perfectly valid to have on your prepared spell list on a permanent basis.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-12-24 at 02:01 PM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Post 8

    On Beasts
    If you donít have the stats of beasts, you can download PDFs containing many (if not most) of them here. There are some goodies (such as a polar bear variant with darkvision) not in the PDF, but all the basic stats are the same as in the MM.
    Two things I wonít be going into here are aquatic creatures and how likely it is that you will have seen the beast I'm discussing (as that is highly campaign dependent, but still something to keep in mind). Conjure Animals has no restrictions on animals seen, but Wild Shape does.
    Donít forget, the poorer the AC of your wild shape, the more attractive is Barkskin, as it sets your AC to 16 (which is better than nearly all beast forms, probably no coincidence).
    If you have Darkvision and intend to Wild Shape into something with Darkvision, you should ask your DM for an interpretation on what happens. The reason is that most beast Darkvision is shorter than PC race Darkvision, so which one do you get?
    And finally, don't forget the delayed ability to get wild shape fly and swim speeds (lvl 8 and 4, respectively), regardless of a form's CR.
    Spoiler: On Beasts
    Show
    CR 0 creatures are not likely to be much use in combat, but they will still have some uses for scouting, blending in, or utility. A few special mentions:

    Almiraj (ToA): Although an affront to evolution and aesthetics both, the lowly almiraj does sport advantage on most Perception checks, as well as decent stealth. In an area where they occur, uh, Ďnaturallyí, you could use one as a scouting form.

    Badger: Burrow speed.

    Cat: A common sight in many places, which makes it a useful spying form. It also has climb speed.

    Crab: Amphibious and sporting a swim speed. Also has blindsight.

    Cranium rat (VGtM): Not much use for conjuring, but wild shaping into one for the Telepathic Shroud could come in handy. Immunity to divination spells is a powerful tool to have in your box, though only sporadically needed. Telepathy is also useful in overcoming language barriers, and of course lets you communicate with your party freely while in this shape.

    Deer: Fastest ground speeds at this tier, though not as fast as the CR ľ Riding Horse.

    Flying Monkey (ToA): Since it can fly, you wonít be able to wild shape into this until level 8, by which time there seems less reason to use this. By that time, an owl is still a good, nimble and unobtrusive scout. But a monkey does have little hands, allowing it to manipulate things like door handles, so maybe if you need to enter a home, or rifle through some papers? Of course, you will attract more than a little attention if you use this shape in an area where they arenít normally found.

    Frog: Amphibious and a swim speed. Also has darkvision.

    Hyena: Like the deer, it has the fastest ground speeds at this tier, though not as fast as the CR ľ Riding Horse.

    Owl: Excellent flyer, including flyby to avoid opportunity attacks, darkvision, keen senses and a fast flight speed.

    Tressym (SKT p. 242): Fly and climb speeds, detect invisibility and poison. As a winged cat, they draw rather a lot of attention, which is generally bad.


    CR 1/8 beasts are generally lacking in combat prowess, but are less vulnerable than CR 0. Two worth pointing out:

    Flying Snake: Extremely versatile creature with both fly and swim speeds, blindsight, flyby to avoid opportunity attacks and even a respectable damage capability for the tier, coupled with very good aim.

    Giant Crab: Like its smaller cousin, this crab sports blindsight, swim speed and it is amphibious. Its defences are also noteworthy, with better native AC than youíll find in CR 1/4. With its grappling claws, it is a possible combat form if you like control better than damage, despite the CR.


    In the CR 1/4 tier, we find the first combat forms of most druids. A small swarm of eight of these creatures can be summoned with Conjure Animals and a third level spell slot. Some standouts:

    Cow (VGtM): Low AC and slightly elevated hp for the tier, the lowly cow is str 18 on a Large frame (540 lb carrying capacity), and it charges so you can feel it. Considered a Huge frame if it's an Ox variant (for a whopping 1080 lb carrying capacity).
    Rothť are smaller and slightly less durable underdark cows with flashing lights and infravision. And Stench Kows have resistances to three damage types and a stench aura that can poison those nearby. A straight upgrade over the basic cow.

    Dimetrodon (ToA, VGtM): One to one comparison with the CR ľ wolf has the dimetrodon come out on top. They have considerably more hp and deal more damage. In packs, the wolves are more useful with their special abilities (pack tactics and trip). So this one is best used for fairly specific circumstances, where each summon must fight pretty much alone, and should last a while Ė such as a series of small tunnels.

    Draft Horse: If you need muscle and can apply it with the equine form, hereís strength 18 on a large animal (carrying capacity 540 lbs) for you, with a brisk movement rate. At a pinch, this beast can defend itself, with its decent hp and damage. It has AC 10, however.
    Compared to the cow above, the draft horse is faster and has a few more hp, making it generally less vulnerable, but it lacks the cowís charge. It beats the cow for damage in a slugging match, though.

    Giant Badger: The basic damage dealer of the tier, but not particularly resilient. Sports burrowing and darkvision.

    Giant Bat: Since they are size large, the DM may let the party use them as mounts, in which case they make an interesting option. If summoned by a lvl 6+ Shepherd, they have 30hp a piece, which is pretty impressive for the tier. They have echolocation, and get advantage on Perception for hearing.

    Giant Poisonous Snake: If youíre up against enemies not resistant to poison (whether directly or via good con save), this is the most hard-hitting slugger of the tier. It has poor hp but the best AC youíll see outside giant crabs and ankylosaurs. It even has a bit of blindsight.

    Giant Wolf Spider: Spider climb and web senses, and an impressive +7 Stealth. 10' blindsight and 60' darkvision. Not a straightforward combat form, being rather squishy, but it has it uses.

    Hadrosaurus (ToA, VGtM): Large. Conjuring these would probably be in order to take advantage of the mobile wall of scales and meat it gets you. Between their size and considerable hp pool, they can fill up a battlefield and make it hard or impossible for the enemy to manoeuvre. And theyíll deal non-negligible damage while theyíre at it.
    Hadrosaurs have AC 11 compared to cow and draft horse AC of 10, and at least equivalent hp. The draft horse kicks slightly harder than the hadrosaurus can bash, but is particularly more precise. This means for slugging matches, the horse beats the dino most of the time.

    Panther: A fast animal with fine climb speed, but its punch is poor in toe-to-toe slugging and if its pounce fails to come off in charges. As usual for large cats, it has expertise in Stealth for a total of +6.

    Riding Horse: The fastest land speed you are likely to find. Turn into one or conjure a bunch for mounts for your party. Feel free to run them ragged.

    Velociraptor (ToA, VGtM): Tiny. Comes close to a straight upgrade over the CR ľ wolf, and could be your standard conjured beast for this tier if they exist in the campaign world. The raptorís size allows four of them to attack from the space occupied by one wolf (though the front row may give the target cover from the second row). This allows them to better concentrate attacks, and it helps with spacing issues (though it also increases their susceptibility to AoE attacks). Raptors also have the pack tactics (and can apply it at times when wolves canít due to space limitations), and deal slightly more damage than the wolf.
    The downsides are one less hp (but shepherd druids turn this the other way from lvl 6, as raptors have 3 hit dice and wolves only 2), their size making them more vulnerable to various pushy-grabby tactics, and the wolfís ability to knock enemies down for allies to get advantage. The wolf works very well in supporting party melee for this reason, something you wonít get from the raptor. The size also means that medium or larger enemies can wade through raptor spaces, making them less a wall of meat than a mild inconvenience of meat. On the flipside, the raptors can slip through many enemiesí spaces, too.

    Wolf: The standard conjured option for the tier, as wolves are usually readily acceptable to the DM, and can do well in climates from desert to tundra. Individually. they are mediocre fighters and somewhat fragile, but they come into their own when fighting alongside other melee. Wolves can help your party melee by knocking enemies prone (make sure your ally has their turn between you and the enemy), and other melee help the wolves by activating your pack tactics.


    CR Ĺ is accessed at level 4 for normal druid wild shape, meaning it may still make good sense to put on an animal form and fight, especially when youíre low on spells. Conjure Animals can get you four of these for a third level slot if you want a bunch of apes to pelt your enemies, or if you need warhorses for your party. Defensively, most beasts here are very similar, with 19hp and 11 or 12 AC. The jaculi has better AC and slightly fewer hp.

    Ape: Decent all-rounder, and the only wild shape that has a ranged attack, though the melee attack option is twice as effective. Thereís also a climb speed to help you if you come up against enemies with strong melee but weak missile capability.

    Black Bear: Slightly faster than the ape, and potentially harder hitting. Without errata, it aims worse than anyone else in the tier.

    Crocodile: If you have a speed boost to overcome the sluggish ground movement, you may like the restraining grapple effect of the bite. Crocs have unimpressive basic attack damage to compensate for that advantage.

    Giant Goat: When charging it deals as much damage as the ape, and it has the same AC and hp, with faster movement. It is only actually better when you want to knock people prone or avoid the same happening to you (well, no help against shoving, unless your DM decides to be a little generous with the 'surefooted' ability). Or when you encounter someone guarding a bridge: Have the bard tell them this tale, while you take this form.

    Jaculi (ToA): A rare snake that neither kills with venom nor coils around its prey. As a surprise predator, these are good at lying in ambush, though less good at moving into an ambush position, as their advantage on Stealth only works for hiding, not sneaking. They are deceptively mobile in combat, as they can make a Spring attack, allowing them to move 30í as part of their attack, leaving them their normal movement in addition. When using this Spring, they deal pretty good damage for the tier, but lose some in a slugging match. They have climb speed and 30í blindsight.
    Jaculi have only 16 hp, but at AC 14, they are still less vulnerable than others in this tier. Their precision is a little low, but even their slugging damage is good, only slightly worse than the apeís.

    Warhorse: In a successful charge, the warhorse deals impressive damage, and decent enough for just standing and stomping on people. Very fast, but poor AC. Note the MM errata that fixes its to-hit to +6.


    CR 1 is where the moon druids start their wild shape. Land druids can shift to this tier from level 8. Conjure animals can bring two of these along with you for a third level spell slot.

    Brown Bear: All-round damage dealer, strong hp, good movement, lousy AC. When in doubt, brown bear.

    Crag Cat (SKT p. 240): Very similar to the tiger below (the crag cat has one bettter dex modifier, three fewer hp), but with some anti-magic goodies added on. Nondetection is something otherwise hard to get, and spell turning is funny.

    Deinonychus (ToA, VGtM): In a movement fight, where it can get off its pounce, the deino can actually out-damage a brown bear, unless attacking a quite high AC (as its precision is slightly worse). The deino has better AC than the bear, but is also considerably less durable. It has its niche, particularly as wild shape for druids with the Mobile feat (or for coolness, though I personally rate bears every bit as cool).

    Dire Wolf: Good hp and AC, a little on the low end damage wise. Has pack tactics, so works best in groups. Pretty fast.

    Female Steeder (OotA): Decent defences and a venomous attack. Not the most obvious of combat forms (though not terrible, either), but between being able to jump a staggering 90', spider climb, 120' darkvision and +7 stealth, you may well find uses for this tarantula form. There's a monstrosity version in MToF, so the critter you see may or may not allow you to take this shape. Ask your DM.

    Giant Eagle: On the wing, this is the fastest beast form in the MM. It is also the most durable flying beast, able to deal respectable damage for the tier, even compared to ground beasts. Since the giant eagle has a language, you can command conjured minions while in this form.

    Giant Hyena: Big hp pool, decent damage, pretty fast and with the interesting Rampage ability, which lets you run a bit and bite again if you down an opponent.

    Giant Octopus: Theoretically possible choice, but many tables (including mine) would consider this cheese as well as lacking the right narrative tone. If your table feels otherwise: Huge hp pool, able to hold its breath out of water for a while, 15 foot reach and so able to grapple enemies where they canít hit back (though Crawford doesn't like that bit of cheese). 10í land movement makes it sorely in need of the Mobile feat or a Longstrider spell.

    Giant Spider: Fragile hp, but good AC. Has Spider Climb and various web abilities. Also deals decent damage against those who arenít too resistant to poison. A bit of blindsight and 60í of darkvision.

    Giant Toad: Solid hp, interesting choice for swallowing your opponents as a means of battlefield control. What happens if you revert to caster form after swallowing an orc? I guess there's only one way to find out.

    Lion: If they can get all their little ducks in a row, lions are pretty good. They pounce, have pack tactics, good mobility and +6 stealth. But when they fail, they deal unimpressive damage and are fairly vulnerable.

    Tiger: A heavier version of the lion, less mobile and vulnerable, slightly more likely to deal good damage solo. Has darkvision for some reason, and the customary +6 Stealth for a big cat.


    CR 2 is the form most druids cannot wild shape. The damage output becomes a major consideration for the moon druid here, as the other melee get their second attack around now, and the druid is rather stuck for ways to increase damage beyond picking animals that deal more. Conjure animals can bring one of these beasts to your aid for a third level spell slot.

    Allosaurus: If the pounce can be made correctly, this dino deals impressive damage for the tier. But it is a gamble, as it leads with its lesser attack in a pounce. Allosaurus has AC as can be expected (i.e. poor), but a good hp pool. The real advantage to this creature is the movement rate (or the coolness factor - itís a goddamn carnosaur), but between its mediocre slugging damage and risky charge, Iíd probably pass this one by for other options.

    Aurochs (VGtM): Nearly identical to the same-tier rhino, a charging form. The aurochs is faster, and in balance has fewer hp.

    Giant Boar: The poor cousin of this tier. Itís simply surpassed in every regard, having only the passive/responsive Relentless to fall back on to make it special.

    Giant Constrictor Snake: Huge; but maybe the DM will cut you some slack because of its suppleness and shape. Impressive hp pool, mediocre damage, but does hinder the target considerably, with a fairly high DC to get out of its coils.

    Giant crayfish (TftYP): Fills out a niche in the tier, with decent defences for a beast, and some considerable control options to boot. Blindsight can come in handy. Has rather poor aim to balance its advantages.

    Giant Elk: Huge; four-footed, lumbering brute. If you ever wanted to stomp people to death, hereís your chance, because the giant elk is good at it - at least against prone enemies. It has poor hp but compensates somewhat with the best AC in the tier (don't ask me why). In a slugging match it is highly dependent on the enemy being prone for its damage to be good. Setting someone's speed to 0 means they can't get up from prone, and getting them prone in the first place can be done e.g. by using this formís charge, allies using Shove, or maybe summoning some (dire) wolves. Having a language in giant elk form, you can command those wolves if you do conjure them.

    Plesiosaurus: Another case of an aquatic animal which can function above water and has a bit of land movement. If your DM is like me, s/he wonít like the image. If your table is fine with it, plesiosaurus has huge amounts of hp and decent AC for the tier, and it even deals reasonable damage with reach. Consider buffing its movement, it could use it.

    Polar Bear: If you can get the cave bear version, those are strictly better. That said, this bear is the glass cannon of the tier. It deals big, reliable damage, but has poor hp and AC. When in doubt, polar bear.

    Quetzalcoatlus (ToA, VGtM): Huge. A bigger flier even than the CR 1 giant eagle. Having flyby attack and a dive-for-extra-damage ability, this Huge flappy bastard does well in hit-and-run against land-based melee, and it wonít get as much in the way of your allies as many other Huge forms or summons. Be advised: In a slugging match, it does not outperform the CR 1 giant eagle, with one less to-hit and less damage overall, and only four extra hp in its pool.

    Rhinoceros: The reliable charger of the tier. Not great on hp or AC, but can lay down good smack when charging. In a slugging match, it does just a tad better than the allosaurus because it hits better, but it does not hold a candle to elks or bears.

    Sabre-toothed Tiger: Very much like the allosaurus; slightly less risky in the charge (leading with its good attack unlike the allosaurus), but also slightly less powerful in slugging matches. +6 Stealth for being a large cat.


    CR 3 has only three MM beasts, one of which is a whale. Moon druids can take these forms from level 9, but they get elemental shapes at level 10, leaving a rather small window - although elemental shapes do use up both your wildshape Ďchargesí, so thereís that. CR 3 is too much for Conjure Animal, but Conjure Fey could let you summon from this list. It could do much better for you, though (CR up to the spell slot used to cast it, and not just beasts). Still, for what itís worth:

    Ankylosaurus: Huge. This dino has solid defences for a beast, and an attack that knocks opponents prone, something that may make your melee allies happy but makes the archers annoyed. Does not deal more damage than CR 2 bears and elks, but has better AC and far more hp.

    Giant scorpion: A bit of a gamble. Hp pool comparable to CR 2, aims like CR 1. But it has AC 15, and can deal good damage if it does manage to hit enemies not too resistant to poison. In most situations, it wonít compare well to CR 2 bears or elks. But the grappling claws may be useful under the right circumstances.

    Giant Snapping Turtle (ToA): The nearest MM equivalent is the ankylosaurus above. The dino has fewer hp and worse AC (at least compared to right-side-up turtles), but has slightly better to-hit, and the ability to knock enemies prone with its attack. So the turtle is somewhat tankier, and loses mostly the control element for it. The turtle also has a nice 40í swim speed and can breathe both in air and water.


    CR 4 in the MM consists of the elephant, which you can summon with Conjure Fey (though I don't see why you would, stats-wise).

    Elephant: Huge. In a slugging match, they do slightly worse than CR 2 bears, despite having better to-hit - they do a little better against prone targets. But they also have the option of charging, which leads with tusks and forces a pitiable DC 12 strength save on the victim to avoid activating a stomp (which is where the better part of elephant damage lies). For wild shape you may also take into consideration the elephantís agile trunk, which can be very useful out of combat.
    The elephant has slightly more hp than the CR 3 options, slightly less than CR 5, as could be expected. It has worse AC than those two tiers.

    Giant subterranean lizard (TftYP): Huge. I love this one. This is only the third CR 4 beast Iíve seen, and so it is much appreciated. Though it has fewer hp than the VGtM stegosaurus and the MM elephant, it has three different means of control to the elephantís one, and the lizard can use them all without charging. Its damage is fully comparable to the stegoís in a slugging match, and surpasses it if any of its control effects are taken into account. It even inches out both stego and elephant for AC.

    Stegosaurus (ToA, VGtM): Huge. Outperforms the CR 4 elephant in slugging matches both in damage and slightly in tankiness. It loses the charge-for-knockdown-and-stomp-in-the-face in balance.


    CR 5 is a small club with three MM members. One is aquatic and shanít be mentioned here. You could summon one of these with Conjure Fey if you don't fancy a mammoth.
    These shapes are the first beasts that can really compete with elemental forms in terms of damage.

    Brontosaurus (ToA, VGtM): Gargantuan. This contested sauropod is considerably tankier than the Giant Croc below, paying it off with less control and damage. The brontosaurus has an impressive 20í reach, which could be useful (attacking past an ally, or attacking enemies in melee who canít opportunity attack when you move away after) or annoying (letting enemies roam a vast area without provoking opportunity attacks), depending on the circumstances.

    Giant crocodile: Huge. You canít tail slap people you have in your mouth, but releasing a grapple doesnít cost an action, so you should be able to lay down the smack on a single target if you so choose. Tail slap first (ideally knocking the target down while you're at it), then put your enemy in your mouth with a bite, and keep it there for its turn. If you grapple a prone opponent, they can't get up again until they break the grapple. Unimpressive hp, and AC above average for beasts (but still quite poor).

    Hulking Crab (SKT p. 240): Huge. The only beast I've seen that has a native AC (17) better than Barkskin (16). Shell camouflage is interesting in that it takes Int, not Perception, to see through this 'stealth', which can be used in the open - open water at least, depending in the DM.
    The giant croc has harder control, more hp, and better damage due to hitting better, so it won't be for those reasons you want this crab.

    Triceratops: Huge. More hp than the croc, one worse AC. Hits slightly better, but deals much less damage in a slugging match. Its charge leads with the good attack, but the DC to avoid being knocked prone (and potentially get stomped on for about 22 damage) is an unimpressive 13.


    CR 6 is a single-elephantidae tier. Conjure Fey can give you a a mammoth, but don't lose concentration or you'll wind up in traction. Summoning an elemental with Conjure Elemental is probably a better use of your resources.

    Mammoth: Huge. The mammoth has hp like an earth elemental, though not the AC or the weapon resistances. It has an impressive +10 to-hit (two points better than the best air and earth elementals; though not so impressive compared to any dedicated melee comrades you have). Without that, the mammoth deals slightly less damage in a slugging match than the elementals (and still less than the giant crocodile and the brontosaurus) unless fighting a prone enemy. The mammoth is a charger, however, and the DC to avoid being knocked prone (and probably trampled for another 26 damage) is a healthy 18.
    Fortunately for moon druids, by now they have Beast Spells, and can cast many spells in wild shape, so some of the earlier forms come into prominence when damage dealing becomes less crucial.


    On Elementals
    Elementals are a druid thing. You can summon them with Conjure Minor Elementals from level 7 and Conjure Elemental from level 9 (1 minute casting time for those; beware of losing your concentration with the latter!); and moon druids can wild shape into an elemental from level 10.
    There are not a lot of elementals to choose from, but letís take a look at what we have. CME can summon CRs 2 and below, so Iíll be looking at those tiers. Then there are the four elementals that need looking at from a summoning and a wild shape perspective. And finally, you can cast Conjure Elemental with a higher level spells slot, and get stronger elementals. That boils down to two CR 6s in the MM.

    Elementals come with an array of immunities and resistances (and the occasional vulnerability). I wonít be talking a lot about them here, unless the comparison needs them to be pointed out. But they are something that sets elementals apart from your beast summons, and they (along with other specials) are probably the reason you have to use a higher level spell to summon the same CR elementals compared to beasts.
    Elementals also come with darkvision built in, with a few exceptions (of which only the Azer is one you can summon).
    Spoiler: On Elementals
    Show
    CR 0 is unlikely to be worth conjuring, but there is one option here.

    Chwinga (ToA): Between Evasion and Natural Shelter, the Chwinga is surprisingly hard to kill for CR 0, if you can even find it given its stealthiness (effectively +17!). Not a creature you would want to conjure for battle, but since each can cast pass without trace, you might want them to concentrate on a whole bunch of those spells for you. You could be splitting a party (generally a dangerous tactic), or sending numerous scouts or assassins out in various directions, or the like.
    The Magical Gift is in the DMís purview, so just might be worth it if the DM is feeling particularly generous or jolly. It wonít last if you tap into it like this, I expect.

    CR ľ contains three mephits. All mephits have flight. You can get up to eight summons here, but the choices are rather lacking.

    Mud Mephit: Slow, no spellcasting, low damage output, but the biggest hp pool of any mephit. The best use of these is probably to send them in close to use their restraining breath and death burst to tie the enemy down. Expect to lose a lot of them, but that would hardly be catastrophic. Not likely to be the better option here.

    Smoke Mephit: Pretty weak casting ability (dancing lights), but its breath and death burst can blind. They can take less of a beating than mud mephits, but must get close to the enemy to do much of anything. Again, not the obvious choice of summons.

    Steam Mephit: Fewer hp, AC 10, poor to-hit and only reasonable damage. Steam mephits can cast Blur to shore up their horrible defences, but that's the best I have to say about them.


    CR Ĺ has another three mephits and the flightless magmin. You can get up to four summons from this tier.

    Magmin: A glass cannon with single digit hp. The best use of them is to send them in against enemies with no resistance to fire and watch them blow everything up, including themselves. You and your allies are at risk of getting caught in the explosions, so watch out.

    Dust Mephit: The smallest hp pool of any mephit, able to cast sleep 1/day. Under the right circumstances it could be a useful summon for that, or because their breath and death burst are blinding effects. But generally speaking, they are not the most attractive option.

    Ice Mephit: Able to cast fog cloud 1/day, so you can get four fog clouds and someone to cast them and concentrate on them for you. Might be worth it. Isnít a strong combatant, dealing a little damage with its breath and death burst.

    Magma Mephit: These guys are probably the best choice, at least if you fight enemies subject to Heat Metal, because they can each cast one. While their breath and death burst only deal damage, that damage is at least comparable to Magmins. Once youíre done using Heat Metal, send the mephit into the thick of it, but be sure to warn your allies before the explosions.


    CR 1 contains only the fire snake (look under Ďsalamanderí in the MM, p. 265), which you get a pair of. If they can hit, and if the enemy is not resistant to fire, they can deal some reasonable damage, but they are only about as durable as mephits.


    CR 2 contains two creatures, and you get one of your choice for your fourth level spell slot and concentration.

    Azer: A fairly decent fighter with AC 17, they suffer from mediocre hit points and no resistance to weapon attacks. While they have no darkvision, they are always illuminated, which can make them obvious diversions, or rain on the rogueís parade.

    Gargoyle: Over half a hundred hp and resistance to weapon attacks makes the gargoyle a durable, flying tank if you need that. It does not deal very impressive damage (a single CR 1 fire snake does better, unless thereís fire resistance involved), but if you speak Terran (it obeys your commands because of the spell, but it canít report to you via that bond), you may be able to use it as scout - for a living piece of ground, it is pretty fast at 60í fly speed.

    CR 3 so far only has two members. Thatís not much of a loss, given that you can conjure better things with Conjure Elemental, while Conjure Minor Elementals canít get you this tier.

    Flail Snail (VGtM): The snail is immune to poison and fire, and can eat pretty much any material. You might summon it for one or more of those reasons, or to get the glass it apparently leaves behind.

    Water Weird: Since it is bound to water and canít leave it, this fellow is only summoned under specific circumstances. The obvious thing to use it for is to drag someone under water to drown them. Though that can take a while, at least they are unlikely to trouble you for the duration. The weird does go invisible under water, which makes it harder to kill it before you drown.


    The four CR 5 basic elementals can be found on pages 124 and 125 in the MM. You can summon any one with the Conjure Elemental spell.

    Air Elemental: Swift, flying, able to get through cracks, packing a punch equal to the earth elemental; this could well be your preferred choice for summons or wild shaping. This is the fastest, most durable flying form moon druids can pick, something to consider at level 18 when you get Beast Spells. The downside is the Ďmereí 90 hp in this elementalís pool. Whirlwind is the most straightforward AoE damage dealing elementals get (and the most fun), but it does come with a recharge, and hasn't the control/debuff effects of the water elemental or the liberal application of the fire elemental.
    Its very mobility makes the Air Elemental a greater threat if you lose control of it, as you likely wonít be able to outrun it, and it will be hard to keep it from delivering its strong punches to your face if it feels inclined to attack you.

    Earth Elemental: Tough as nails with 126 hp and AC 17, and packing punches only equalled by the air elemental. To compensate, it is fairly slow, but with the abilities Burrowing and Siege Monster, few circumstances can stop it cold. If your role is to tank, this is the obvious choice of wild shape. If youíre summoning elementals, the slow earth elemental is less likely to be able to catch you should you lose control, and its durability makes it a less risky investment of your resources. Just mind any slow party members if you lose concentration; dwarves are known for holding grudges.

    Fire Elemental: Low AC and poor aim makes this an elemental you pick for (at least) one of two reasons: Youíre expecting lots of fire and want immunity; and/or you expect to fight lots of lesser beings you can use the elementalís Fireform on. That ability forces multiple creatures to take damage or spend actions to avoid it. This is caused by moving, leaving the elemental free to hammer away as well. If you use this in wild shape, this is a great use for the Mobility feat.
    Fire Elemental is something of a niche choice (you must be especially wary of anyone resistant or immune to fire), but certainly not without its uses.

    Water Elemental: Somewhat less durable than the earth elemental, and with a little less outright punch than the two top hitters, the water elemental needs to find its niche in water (90í swim speed is pretty impressive) or in using its Whelm. This can grapple and drown foes. Taking cold damage reduces the elemental's mediocre land speed to 10, so this should be taken into account. The Ray of Frost cantrip nails a water elemental to the floor when it hits. Knowing this could be useful if you summoned it and lost your concentration.

    CR 6 elementals can be summoned by using a sixth level spell slot for Conjure Elemental.

    Galeb Duhr: Most notable for its ability to animate rocks, it can, for ten rounds, let you have what amounts to three of it. Outside of that, it is similar, but rather inferior, to the earth elemental.

    Invisible Stalker: Not as powerful, manoeuvrable or AoE capable as an air elemental, but it does have the advantage of being permanently invisible. It also has the interesting Faultless Tracker ability, which you can use to find specfic individuals. Speaking Auran will make it a lot easier to work with this summon.


    On Fey
    Between Conjure Woodland Beings (spell level 4) and Conjure Fey (spell level 6, 1 minute casting time; lose concentration and they go hostile and may turn on you), you can summon all the fey creatures in the MM to work for you. Thatís not a big list, however, so Iíll go through each of them, and I'll add the relevant fey from other books as well.
    Spoiler: On Fey
    Show
    CR 1/8 is not taking full advantage of the mechanics of Conjure Woodland Beings (or even Conjure Fey), but it's technically possible to conjure from this tier.

    Boggle (VGtM): You may be able to find uses for the bogglesí oily puddles, which last an hour. You could prepare an area for a coming fight, e.g. Their ability to make dimensional rifts is amusing, and excellent for pranks. They could probably be used for practical things, too, like opening containers and doors suspected of being trapped. Though durable for the tier, boggles are rather weak offensively, and arenít a good choice for straight combat.

    CR 1/4 is granted by Conjure Woodland Beings, which at its basic level grants you eight of these creatures, or up to twenty-four with higher level spell slots.

    Blink Dog: Pretty durable for the CR, and with the ability to teleport short distances and attack in the same turn. Their sheer offensive ability is less than the best CR ľ beasts, and the blink dogs have no knockdown or pack tactics like the wolves and velociraptors. But blink dogs do have about twice the hp. The main advantage here is obviously the blink, allowing the dog to deal easily with terrain, obstacles and enemy formations, and it helps out with crowding issues. Certainly has its uses.

    Pixie: Pixies can cast such powerful spells as Polymorph and Confusion, and useful ones like Dispel Magic and Entangle, and some others you may want. If you can keep them alive, this is a hugely versatile and powerful choice. They can also scout for you if you speak Sylvan, as they are invisible when they arenít concentrating on spells. They also fly, albeit not fast.
    The usual trick here is to turn four party members into flying t-rexes (or giant apes if they are level 7). Once youíve done that, the DM is very likely to nerf something, and possibly more than youíd like, so consider carefully.

    Sprite: These little archers will do little damage, but their arrows are poisoned, applying that condition if the target fails to save. If you have eight, and half of them hit your target, thatís four DC 10 saves to be made. And if the save is missed by five or more, the target falls asleep. While not nearly as versatile as the Pixies, there are things to be said for summoning a group of sprites. They also make good scouts, (being invisible and flying) and they speak Common and can report back.

    CR 1/2 creatures come in batches of four for a standard Conjure Woodland Beings, and twelve or sixteen with a sixth or eighth level slot.

    Darkling (VGtM): A fighting minion about on par with beasts of this tier (slightly fewer hp and a little better AC, and a little less damage). In order to justify the higher spell slot, you need to use these where their blindsight and long darkvision gives them an edge. Their death burst needs to be taken into consideration. It can annoy an enemy considerably, but your relative lack of control of when it happens makes it quite capable of backfiring on your own side. Note the light sensitivity.

    Satyr: These make pretty durable fighting summons compared to CR Ĺ beasts. Their damage dealing isnít so impressive, but they can do it at good range, which beasts generally lack. They also get advantage on saves against magical spells and effects, making them less vulnerable on the battlefield as you get higher level and see more enemies that use these.

    CR 1 fey can be summoned with Conjure Woodland Beings: Two for a fourth level slot, four for a sixth level slot, and six for an eighth level.

    Dryad: Dryads make decent spellcasting batteries and can help you with utility. They can cast three Goodberry spells (effectively letting you heal 60hp out of combat for a fourth level slot) and three Entangles for you, and one each of Barkskin and Pass without Trace (+10 to stealth checks for a group is pretty amazing). They can speak with plants and animals for you, if you speak Elvish or Sylvan. They can defend themselves at a pinch, but are not strong combatants.

    Quickling (VGtM): As the name implies, this little fellow is fast, to the tune of 120í movement speed. Heís made of glass with a pittance of 10hp, but at least attack rolls against him are at disadvantage due to his speed. Offensively heís quite impressive, with a huge +8 to-hit and attacking three times for a high total per round.
    When this minion works, itís going to work well, able to deliver your punch just about anywhere on the ground youíre fighting on. But if the enemy lands a hit or two, the quickling is likely out of the fight, making him a fragile speedster glass cannon.

    CR 2 come in singles with Conjure Woodland Beings. One can be summoned for a fourth level slot, two for a sixth, and three for an eighth.

    Darkling Elder (VGtM): When fighting in its own Darkness effect, this is a pretty effective combat minion for the tier (good damage, and the darkness to shore up its defences), and worth the higher slot than CR 2 animals cost. However, the darkness can quickly turn into a nuisance for your own side, as can the death burst. Note the light sensitivity, although it can be mitigated with Darkness.

    Meenlock (VGtM): Slippery and frightening little fey, the meenlock can be more of a nuisance than a help. Its aura of fear can be as annoying to your side as to the enemyís (or more if youíre not fighting humanoids or beasts). Its main advantage for your side is in the paralysis induced by its claw attack (which does only modest damage). It can also make short teleport jumps as a bonus action, as long as thereís shadow and the ability is charged, making it manoeuvrable and somewhat mitigating the problems of the aura.

    Nereid (TftYP): In a fight, the nereid is less tanky than the Sea Hag, but she sports better damage options and some decent, single-target control options with those attacks. In water, the invisibility is hard to beat for usefulness, as it does not end on attacking. Combined with her four languages and a good swim speed, the nereid makes an excellent scout in the wet element. The control water effect seems to be quite limited (30í cube), and most of the things control water can do just arenít that impressive in such a small body of water.

    Sea Hag: One of these can do some tanking for you, although she doesnít compare too well in that department to CR 2 beasts. But she gets some things to compensate, which may make her a worthwhile consideration in the right circumstances.
    She can get people frightened with Horrific Appearance. Though not too reliable at DC 11, it is an area effect, so if you get enough people into the area, you will get some failures. Anyone frightened is subject to the hagís Death Glare (DC 11 wisdom save or drop to 0 hp). If someone in your party likes frightening your foes, this ability gets that much more applicable, as the hag can go straight to glaring without first applying the fear.
    Finally, her ability to mask herself with Illusory Apperance may make it easier to bring her places than a cave bear or an allosaurus (in addition to being a good setup to take advantage of Horrific Appearance).

    CR 3 fey are only available through Conjure Fey, which could get you at least CR 6.
    Green Hag: Offers some minor illusion effects, which just might justify the high spell slot cost in some specific circumstances. Generally, this is not a good option.

    Redcap (VGtM): Lacks utility, and given the CR, it isnít much use as a fightint minion.

    Siren (TftYP): She may serve as a spell battery, adding greater invisibility to your options. She also has various spells you already have access to, but may not have on your prepared list just then. If you are fighting some powerful, low-int brute, the siren may be able to shut it down with her stupefying touch (int save damage and stun), though sheís likely to get gobbled up if the save is successful, being so low CR for when you can conjure her.

    CR 4 fey are only available through Conjure Fey, which could get you at least CR 6.

    Yeth Hound (VGtM): The yeth hound can communicate telepathically with you at any distance on the same plane, so you might consider it for some scouting mission. Its baleful baying might function as a bit of control with its impressive area of effect. But the hound goes to the ethereal plane in sunlight.

    CR 6 is the basic CR gotten with Conjure Fey. You can also pick a CR 6 beast, the mammoth.

    Annis Hag (VGtM): Between its size (Large), AC and damage resistances, this makes a handier and often more durable tank than the Huge CR 6 mammoth. In a slugging match the hag also deals more damage, and it has the crushing hug option to get some control. The mammoth is still deadlier in a trampling charge, and much tankier if the hagís resistances donít apply.

    CR 7 is available with a seventh level spell slot and Conjure Fey.

    Bheur Hag (VGtM): A spellcasting battery giving you a bunch of cold-related (or cold-fluffable) spells, and early access to Control Weather. Sheís pretty mobile with 50í flight speed, and should use this for safety during fights. Sheís a little vulnerable for the CR.

    Korred (VGtM): Another spellcasting battery. You already have access to the spells, but you may not have prepared them for the day. The Korred also has some control from its hair-rope, and it can hide fairly well to keep safe Ė or burrow at 30í speed for even greater safety. It can give some combat backup by flinging rocks for more damage than youíre likely to do with your cantrips.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-11-17 at 07:18 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Feb 2012

    Default Post 9

    Druid Dipping Directory
    Spoiler: Ramblings of a Mad Guide Writer
    Show
    Time and again, I have been asked the question: What would be good for multiclassing with a druid? And the answer, emphatically, is: "Ask your DM."
    Part of the problem is, of course, that most DMs haven't thought through all the possibilities and studied the intricacies of interaction between various abilities from different classes. And I can't say I blame them. It's boring, mostly fruitless, and in the end it is widely subject to whim and judgment, anyway.
    Still the question remains, and I go to study the various possibilities. And I keep going back to the same refrain, the chant in the darkness of ignorance and tedium, the warcry of the fifth edition of D&D: "Ask your DM, ask your DM."
    Well, so be it. But let's take a look at exactly what it is we don't know. That way we'll at least know what we don't known. And in so doing, having conquered ignorance... Ah, stuff it.


    Spoiler: When Not to Multiclass
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    The first and obvious rule of thumb on when to multiclass is: Never. That doesn't just go for druids, either. The druid, and every other class, is perfectly fine from 1 to 20. With druids, it's mostly because of spellcasting, and to a lesser degree wild shapes. Druid characters tend to scale up anywhere from decently to very well when they advance in level.

    Consider what youíre missing out on. Suppose you take two levels of bard somewhere along the line and are now druid5/bard2. You have the same spell slots as a straight druid. But youíre two levels behind on wild shape, and one spell level behind on the druid list.
    What do you get in return for loss of fourth level spell access? First level bard spells. And this keeps getting worse as your level goes up, and you retroactively trade higher and higher level access for first level access.

    For this reason, the dreams, land and shepherd druids in particular are ill suited for multiclassing, at least for a good, long time. The moon druid, if willing to use spells over wild shapes as needed, has no real need to multiclass.


    Spoiler: When to Multiclass
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    There are some places where you reach something of a plateau in your abilities, more so with wild shapes than with spells. These are places on the leveling curve when advancing something other than your druid levels looks more appealing in comparison.

    The first plateau is level 2 for moon druids. The moon druid wonít advance in wild shape power for four levels, and it will be a main tool for the time being.

    The second plateau is level 5 (and this goes for almost any class). The druid (of any kind) can call lightning straight out of the sky, and conjure enough animals to snow enemies under. You may now be looking for other things to do for the party, as each party member is coming into their prime.

    The third plateau is at level 10 for the moon druid. It will be five levels before any beast shape can really compete with elementals. Some might say this plateau is really at level 11, giving access to the Investiture of X spells, which can be very good buffs for a wild shape.

    Level 15 constitutes another plateau for the moon druid, as getting CR 6 wild shape (the mammoth) is not much of an advance over CR 5.

    Level 17 is a possible plateau for the non-moon druids. Now having reached the zenith of raw spell power at ninth level spells, itís mostly a matter of what other abilities youíd get. Level 18 gets you Beast Spells, which may well be worth holding on for. Level 19 gives an ASI. By now, youíve taken all the best options and probably maxed your wisdom, so it may be much less tempting than it used to be. And level 20 gives unlimited wild shapes and freedom from most spell components. For the non-moon druids, this is unlikely to make any great difference; they havenít advanced in wild shapes since reaching level 8; and they managed dealing with spell components all the way here.
    A straight moon druid having reached level 17 is unlikely to look for other options. Beast Spells is magnificent for moon druids; they are more feat hungry (for the ASI); and of course level 20 gives the notorious expansion of your damage sponge.

    This leaves moon druids with several places they may want to pause or stop, while the other druids are unlikely to do either until very high level.
    Non-moon druid will prefer to multiclass with straight casters, as it will synergize with what they already have. Moon druids tend to be more focused on finding ways to improve wild shape combat potential.

    Without further ado, here follow my thoughts on the classes in alphabetical order. Some get comments that are further divided into subclasses, if these are sufficiently different or otherwise notewothy.

    Spoiler: Barbarian
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    For the moon druid, we ask the age-old questions: Can crocodiles burn with furious anger? Can air elementals benefit from over-active adrenal glands? Does the barbarianís bare arse protect his bear arse? "Well," as the ancient sages used to answer, "you must be barmy."


    But if the DMís answer to these questions is yes, and you happen to have that str13 needed, then dipping barbarian1 can strengthen the defences of your wild shapes considerably. Rage gives a slight amount of extra damage to counteract some of the loss in wild shape advancement. The constitution bonus to AC (according to the Sage it'll be instead of any Natural Armor bonus) and the ability to rage for resistance to weapon damage both expand the dimensions of your damage sponge considerably if the DM rules in your favour. And this effect scales, as long as you get new and stronger forms (which generally have good or better con anyway, to go with Naked Dwarf Syndrome Unarmored Defense).

    One possible downside is if your DM forbids your using Combat Wild Shape to heal during a rage. While RAW lets it fly (wild shape cuts off spellcasting just as rage does, after all), some DMs may feel itís against the spirit of Rage to use spell slots. A definite downside is that you cannot concentrate on spells (or cast them) while raging.

    The barb1 dip will have its greatest effect before you get access to resistance to damage from other sources. Earth elemental shape (druid 10) and the spells Stoneskin (druid 7, but is expensive) and Investiture of Stone (druid 11) can get you damage resistance against (nonmagical) weapon attacks. Once you have access to these abilities, you will get less out of barb1. By then, having Bear Totem (barb3) can keep rage competitive, giving you resistance to all damage types except psychic. Or Frenzy from the Berserker path could use the elemental (moon druid 10) immunity to exhaustion, depending on how the DM rules the interaction there.
    But barb3 constitutes a considerable investment. Youíre a wild shape behind, and also down one and a half spell levels. So you may want to hold off on that until you get elemental wild shapes (druid10). Obviously, this is valuing your wild shape over your spells, something that will have a profound effect on the character.

    Extra Attack does not interact with Multiattack by RAW, and it may not even interact with beast or elemental standard attacks. E.g., a rhino gets ĎGoreí as an action, which makes it sound like it doesnít use the Attack Action. This also affects any Frenzy a barb3 berserker might be considering. But some people argue that it should work, even with Multiattack. Crawford says the individual attacks work with Extra Attack, but not Multiattack. If your DM is inclined to let Multi and Extra combine in some way, then 5 levels of barbarian could well be defended.
    An air or earth elemental (druid 10) attacking three times per round instead of two is slightly ahead of a Giant Crocodile (druid 15) in damage per round. The elemental lacks the knockdown and grapple effect of the croc, but you can compensate partially with Reckless Attack (not with the air or fire elementals, though; they fight with dex).
    Going beyond barb5 is unlikely to end happily, even with so permissive a DM.

    As long as youíre considering barbarian, mechanically it may be worth considering taking your first level here and then go druid from there. It gives you some fundamental hit-them-with-bits-of-metal to do for level 1 and 2. It gives you 4 more hit points, and constitution as a save proficiency. The skill lists are similar, and you lose proficiency in the herbalism kit.

    Conclusion: Moon druid only. Dipping barbarian takes a long conversation with your DM about exactly how individual barbarian abilities interact with druid ones (or not): Just how good a barbarian dip is depends on how that conversation turns out.


    Spoiler: Bard
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    The thematic closeness of the Celt-inspired bards and druids can be seen in their crunch as well.


    Cha 13 is probably acceptable to you, if youíre considering bard. At least you keep up your spell slot progression and gain a skill. Thereís quite a bit of overlap between bard and druid spell lists, but you could pick up something like Comprehend Languages, Disguise Self, Featherfall and Sleep. Otherwise you can effectively add to your spells prepared list with things like Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Healing Word and Longstrider. Or mix it up, of course.

    You also get one use of Bardic Inspiration (combine with Guidance cantrip for some potentially very high skill checks) and two cantrips. Minor Illusion is a fine cantrip, and you donít have many illusion spells anyway. Friends or Prestidigitation could make good second choices among those you havenít had a chance to pick up before.

    All of this adds mostly to your non-combat bag of tricks, which could be very useful in the right campaign and/or in the wrong party.
    As time goes by, the pain of being half a spell level and a third of a wild shape behind will become more annoying. The longer this goes on, the less the level in bard will help you.

    Sinking more levels into bard expands on this theme. It improves your skills (Jack of all Trades and Expertise) and gives you more low level spell options, while holding back your druidic advancement; high level spells and wild shapes.

    Conclusion: While an overall drop in power in most cases, there may be a niche for bard dipping in expanding other options. Non-moon druid 17+ might well take the last levels in bard.


    Spoiler: Cleric
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    The cleric is more urban, more modern than the druid, but they have an awful lot in common. Too much, probably.


    Dipping cleric (wis13 is not a problem) is also dipping domains. The cleric itself gives you access to some first level spells which can be nice enough (several are also on the druid list), but trading low level spells for high level ones (and the higher you get, the worse the trade) is obviously not that attractive.
    Sacred Flame is a better damage cantrip than anything on the druid list (mostly due to the very reliable Radiant damage type), and is the standout among those you donít already have access to. But look in XGtE too. Word of Radiance is a worthy substitute if you like Thunderclap, and Toll the Dead deals up to d12 necrotic damage. Necrotic isnít as good as radiant, but itís still pretty good. And d12, even if itís only on wounded creatures, is very good for a cantrip.

    Arcane (SCAG) gets you Arcane as a skill and a pair of wizard cantrips which get to use wisdom. The second level channel divinity could be useful throughout your career, as it scales with your spell DC. This is clearly one of the better options.

    Forge (XGtE): Thematically inappropriate, but Blessing of the Forge is pretty good, though perhaps more for buffing a friend.

    Grave (XGtE): Death is part of the natural cycle, but unless detecting undead is a big deal in your campaign (or your table does a lot of yo-yo healing), the features here arenít that strong.

    Knowledge is a lot like dipping bard; it improves your skills at a somewhat reduced cost to your spellcasting (but wild shape cost remains in full effect).

    Life is for those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves as healers. As such, it does admirably, putting healing spells on your prepared list and letting your Goodberries heal 40hp for a spell slot, if the DM goes along with it anyway. The Sage says it works. Healing Spirit more than doubles its effectiveness. The dip can be defended, but itís still a loss felt more and more keenly as you advance.

    Light gives you Warding Flare, a defensive effect; good for a first level ability, and could be nice if a moon druid could activate it in wild shape (a question for your DM, though I wouldnít get my hopes up). The rest of the domain gives you little of use, beyond very low levels.

    Nature is nearly a total loss, as thematically appropriate as it is. It gives you druid stuff, which you already have or turned down in favour of other druid stuff. Heavy armour is unlikely to do you any good, as you must still obey the taboo against metal armour.

    Tempest gives you a non-scaling way to use your reaction when you are struck in melee. Not very useful, but at least could yield a little fun if it could be activated in wild shape Ė probably not possible, but the DM might be okay with it.

    Trickery is slightly less useful than Knowledge. Giving someone else advantage on Stealth is cute, but you can cast Pass without Trace, which is much better.

    War allows you to attack with a bonus action a number of times per long rest equal to your wisdom score. It should work with wild shape if the DM agrees that wild shapes use the Attack Action to attack Ė maybe not as straightforward as you might think. Ideally, Multiattack also gets to be considered an Attack Action (though RAW says otherwise), because most high damage forms depend on Multiattack. If all that goes through, you could at least get some burst capacity for your wild shapes a number of times per long rest equal to your wisdom modifier.

    Conclusion: Depends heavily on the domain, and often on the DM. Not the obvious place to look for a dip. Non-moon druid 17+ without the cha or int to dip bard or wizard might consider a few levels of cleric to round off.


    Spoiler: Fighter
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    The fighter's skill is with arms and armour. It is hard to reconcile with the spirit and taboos of the druid.


    Dex 13 probably doesnít hurt, while str 13 very likely does. Level 1 fighter doesnít really give you a lot. Second Wind is a self heal. You should be covered there. The only Fighting Style you might be allowed to make use of in wild shape is Defense. Maybe with barding, maybe with mage armor, maybe a special homebrew druidic armour. But itís shaky, and possibly impractical even if allowed; consider the impracticality of lugging around barding for various wild shapes, some of it very large and heavy.

    Action Surge at level two is a common target for fighter dips, and it is a good feature. It allows you to take two actions in a round once per rest. But it would have to make up for the first nearly dead level to be worth aiming for, which it doesnít really. And then it must account for two levels spent not advancing spells or wild shape. Druids are not particularly well suited for taking advantage of casting two spells in one round, not least because their best spells are usually Concentration spells.
    Going further in fighter just adds insult to injury. Look to barbarian, monk, paladin or ranger instead, if you want to improve your physical combat abilities.

    Conclusion: No, this isnít going to work out.


    Spoiler: Monk
    Show
    With focus on the mind, mastery of the flesh, philosophies of balance and no reliance on technology, druids and monks ought to mesh well, right? Right?


    Dex 13 is not so bad, though this class will likely attract more moon than other druids (who tend to like armour and shields nicely, thank you); and moon druids find dex a little less interesting.

    Still, Unarmored Defense makes your AC into wis bonus + dex bonus + 10, right? If this works with wild shape (and as long as youíre playing at a strictly gamist table or in the world of Kung Fu Panda, thereís no reason why it shouldnít), then it goes a good way to shoring up the notoriously weak AC of beasts. You will want to invest in wisdom earlier than most moon druids. But there are some nuances that also need to be decided: Do you throw in Natural Armor as a bonus for free? Or does it cause complications? Is an ankylosaurus unarmoured? Is a bear? Mechanically they're the same, but it may not be quite so straightforward. The Sage has clarified that Natural Armor uses its own AC calculation, so your DM may well follow that.
    Bear claws and crocodile teeth are not unarmed strikes (nor even monk weapons), so Martial Arts doesnít do much for you. If it did (DMís prerogative), it would be a welcome bonus. As long as youíve got nothing else to do with your bonus action.

    Using Ki in wild shape is also quite dependent on DM interpretation (and overall seems quite shaky, at that; and the low number of points available could also be a problem). The extra movement should be less controversial, but is probably not worth it for another level of monk. Third level monastic traditions are either low level spells (many of which you can already cast, approximate or better) or the Way of the Open Hand using claws and teeth.

    Being so troublesome, even a very lenient DM canít make it worth your while to go for Extra Attack (which may not work very well for you anyway; see under Barbarian).

    Conclusion: The usefulness of monk depends heavily on DM interpretation of interaction between monk abilities and wild shape. A sufficiently lenient DM could make monk1 or even monk2 worthwhile. A different DM could make it an utter waste.


    Spoiler: Paladin
    Show
    Just this: Bear smite!


    Cha13 isnít so nice, and str13 is harsh. Divine Sense is rather meh. Lay on Hands would be much better if you had more levels in paladin. At least there's a chance the DM will let you use them in wild shape. Fighting Style doesnít work in wild shape, except perhaps Defense (see under Fighter). But that said, the moon druids should pay attention. Because a two-level paladin dip may be exactly what you need to make your wild shape competitive damage-wise.

    Divine Smite (which has been errataíed so you can use non-paladin spell slots on it) allows you to expend spell slots for damage. Itís just a tad iffy, what with the requirement that the wild shape be physically capable of using the ability; well, Iíve never seen a bear make a holy smite, I donít know whatís involved. But if the DM is okay with it, this is a very valid way for wild shape-focused druids to multiclass Ė perhaps the very most valid.

    Adding in some spells doesnít hurt, though paladin spells donít generally mesh particularly well with what youíll be doing. Maybe pick up a smiting spell and something like Detect Magic if you generally feel your spells prepared list is too short and youíd like some room.

    Going on to third level gives you access to an Oath. The Oath of Ancients is the likely excuse you may need to take levels in paladin in the first place, as it is thematically very appropriate. Divine Health is less useful to you than to most, as you have Lesser Restoration and for that matter Detect Poison and Disease on your spell list. And, well, disease doesnít come up very much in the average campaign, does it?

    What you might be aiming for is Extra Attack on level five, although how exactly this is supposed to work with your wild shape is a question to put to the DM (see Extra Attack under Barbarian). But itís a lot of levels to throw here, when you could be taking druid levels to get better wild shapes and more spell slots to fuel your spiffy Divine Smite with.

    Conclusion: For moon druids wanting to fight using wild shape more than aything else, this is probably the best dip you can get, despite the relative pain of pal1.


    Spoiler: Ranger
    Show
    True or false? The ranger is to the druid, as the paladin is to the cleric.


    Dex 13 is likely an acceptable investment (though as usual slightly less so for moon druids). Dipping here nets you a skill, and if you take two levels you get two first level spells at reduced loss of spell slot progression. Iíd suggest Absorb Elements and Goodberry, which youíd want on your list most days anyway.

    Though thematically appropriate, it does tend to cover stuff you already have the tools for. Surviving in the wild and travelling quickly? Goodberry and a swift wild shape should do it. A fighting style at level 2 has the usual problems (see under Fighter). The archetypes are not going to help you out as spellcaster. The wild shape may get some help from the Hunter Archetype (but the DM should be consulted for interpretation). Giant Killer and Horde Breaker would at least scale with your wild shapes, if the DM okays their interacting with wild shape.

    Getting to Extra Attack is a heavy investment, and (as described under Barbarian) also asks for a ruling on how it would interact with wild shape.

    Conclusion: Probably works better the other way around; an archery ranger5 taking druid levels for extra magical skills, say. If your primary interest is as caster or wild shape melee, there are better dips Ė but also far worse.


    Spoiler: Rogue
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    The question is, what happens when you cross the city slicker with the wilderness extremist?


    Dex 13 isnít bad, though a little worse for moon druids, who are more likely to be looking into this dip. Rogue1 is quite similar to bard2. It gets you skills, at a certain cost to your advancement in spells and wild shape. The skill expertise can be used for various things; athletics to be a better grappler, stealth if you want to push your scouting skill through the roof, perception because, well... Perception. Other options abound, obviously.

    Sneak attack works poorly for the average druid. With the exception of Ape, wild shapes have no ranged attacks. And Finesse is a weapon quality, something natural weapons donít interest themselves with. A friendly (or just drunk; I make no suggestions) DM may be willing to let you use it with wild shapes that use their dex to fight. In that case, dipping rogue suddenly becomes more interesting, putting a little extra damage in wild shapes hungry for it. Though you should note that most wild shapes use strength, especially as the beasts get bigger along with their CR.

    Level 2 for the rogue gives the wonderful Cunning Action. Any character could use this, but moon druids in particular often get good movement and could make better use of it with a bonus action Dash or Disengage. Whether it's worth going all the way to rogue2 for is the real question.

    With a sufficiently lenient DM (one whoíd let you sneak attack in wild shape), an air elemental shape makes for a strong combination with a rogue dip. Sneak attacks shore up the elementalís damage, while cunning action makes the most of the elementalís superb mobility. Fire elementals can use a Disengage action to move through a large bunch of foes without provoking OAs, setting enemies on fire as it goes (I'm not spitballing, fire elementals can do that).
    Youíd want to go straight druid until level 10, and then start adding in rogue levels. I am, however, not certain exactly how long this combination would work. Moon11/Arcane Trickster9 would probably be the very most rogue levels youíd put in. But if the campaign goes all the way to 20, the rogue levels would probably feel like a waste eventually.

    Conclusion: Perhaps and maybe, but probably no. The loss of spell and wild shape advancement is probably too bitter for what you get in return.


    Spoiler: Sorcerer
    Show
    42 is the answer, as we all know. So the real question may be: Are you pretty enough to be a sorcerer?


    Cha 13 is not the nicest requirement, but if you do go here, you may want to start out as Sorcerer. It will cost you a hit point or two (depending on Sorcerous Origin), but it allows you to start out proficient in Constitution saves.

    If you somehow have the charisma for it, sorcerer could at least give you a good attack cantrip, but the warlock does better for you on that count. You get some more spells known, but if youíre looking for arcane spells youíd probably prefer bard or wizard. No, a sorcerer dip would likely be for the Sorcerous Origin, and (if you go deep enough) for Metamagic.

    For the moon druid, itís quite DM dependent. Does Draconic Resilience give a few bonus hit points and a better AC for wild shapes? Probably not, so not likely to be worth it. The advantage to the other druids isnít very noticeable, either. You can wear armour, after all.

    Tides of Chaos is a small (and not very dependable) panic button. Wild Magic Surge is about as likely to be bad for you as good, and not within your control at that.

    So it really comes down to metamagic. Does Subtle Spell allow you to cast spells in wild shape? By RAW it doesnít, but the DM might let it Ė Beast Spells and Archdruid seem to indicate that verbal and somatic components are the reason you canít cast spells in wild shape; that and game balance, anyway. The other metamagic options are what they are, probably about as useful to druid casting as to sorcerer casting.

    A Storm sorcerer (from SCAG) is more interesting as a tiny dip. Wind Speaker lets you speak to any Invisible Stalkers you care to conjure. More commonly applicable, getting to fly 10í as a bonus action without provoking opportunity attacks every time you cast a non-cantrip spell? Yeah, that could be worth looking into!

    The Divine Soul (XGtE) gets to pick cleric spells. You could just multiclass cleric instead. But it also gets a once per rest panic button to help with failed saves. That includes Concentration saves, so it may almost be worth considering.

    Shadow Magic (XGtE) gets 120í darkvision (which presumably gets lost in wild shape), a chance to stay up when reduced to 0hp (youíre supposed to be more protected than that), an if you go so far as 3, you can cast a special Darkness spell that you can see through (but your allies and minions canít). These abilities are pretty good in their own way, but donít go well with general druidity.

    Conclusion: You could dip bard instead with the same stats. But it might have something going for it depending on the DM.


    Spoiler: Warlock
    Show
    You better not be afraid of commitment.


    Cha 13 is a tad annoying, but if youíre considering this, then you probably have a very strong charisma already.

    The classic warlock dip is 2 levels for Eldritch Blast (a strong and reliable attack cantrip, probably the best of its kind) and some invocations to make it stronger. If you have very strong charisma (stronger than you will with point buy or standard array), warlock2 could be attractive to non-moon druids at some point. That point could well be when choosing what to advance for level 19.

    An interesting synergy with warlock is the spell slots per short rest. For a druid, unspent ones are prime candidates for Goodberries, cast just before starting a short rest. But since Pact Magic spell slots can be used for any spell a warlock has, no matter the level, how does this interact with the druidís spells? Your DM will need to answer, and should beware of letting a warlock2 dip give two extra castings of the highest spell level available per short rest.

    A few extra low level spells known and prepared could have some use, but as usual, taking low level spells and giving up high level ones isnít that practical.
    If youíre picking two or three spells from the warlock list, Armor of Agathys stands out as grab-worthy in the long run - for moon druids, anyway. It's a much better use of spell slots than healing a shape with Combat Wild Shape, as it both gives more (if temp) hp, and adds the revenge damage to melee attackers. And you're less likely than most melee to see this wasted, as you won't be sporting a very good AC in wild shape.
    Other than that, getting some spells like Comprehend Languages, Protection from Evil and Good or Sleep expands your list and capabilities a little, and they may come in handy at some point.

    The real meat and potatoes of warlock dips are invocations, however. Eldritch Blast benefits from Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Spear and Repelling Blast. The latter works extra well for you, letting you push enemies into a Wall of Fire or whatever BC spell youíve got up while Eldritch Blast'ing. Armor of Shadows would be interesting to a moon druid, giving you Mage Armor to help protect your wild shapes. Devilís Sight might be interesting for a Swamp land druid (who can cast Darkness) or any druid who has friends who cast Darkness regularly.

    And then there are numerous utility options, getting you spells to cast at will, or skills.

    Conclusion: In particular niche situations, there could be reasons, especially for non-moon druids looking to multiclass, to dip warlock. But mostly youíd be avoiding it, at least until level 18 (or possibly 17).


    Spoiler: Wizard
    Show
    Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between druids and wizards. Sometimes there is a distinction with no difference.


    Who wants to have 13 int? Well, multiclass wizards, of course.

    The least visible advantage to a dip in wizard is their Ritual casting. Unlike druids, wizards need not have a spell prepared to cast it ritually; it need only be in their spellbook. And there are quite a few wizard rituals even at level one, expanding your options or simply saving space on your prepared list.

    A few cantrips can be welcome as well, even if you donít have the int score to back up an offensive one. Minor Illusion and Prestidigitation are both very versatile, and Friends, Light and Mage Hand arenít on your druid list. First level spells to be worth picking up could be Mage Armor for moon druids (goes well with wild shapes, though how it interacts with Natural Armor is not in the rulebooks), or things like Feather Fall, Find Familiar and Silent Image for any druid.

    So wiz1 is not a very painful dip, and it comes with some compensation. Wiz2 means being behind a spell level and two thirds of a wild shape tier, so it would need to give something pretty good (unless youíre a non-moon druid17+ already).

    Abjuration: Gives you bonus hit points from casting abjuration spells. There are some for druids to cast (Pass without Trace, Protection from X, Dispel Magic), but they arenít exactly spammable. The number of hp also remains rather small with a dip, so probably not worth it.

    Bladesinging (SCAG): If you happen to have a very high Int from rolling stats, this could be an option for moon druids. It can give you your int bonus to AC and Concentration saves for ten rounds twice per rest. But only if your DM can be persuaded to allow the dancing bear solution. Bladesinging should be cumulative with Mage Armor and the Unarmored Defense of barbarians and monks, but it is by default only available to those with elf blood in their veins.

    Conjuration: Minor conjuration lets you make small, obviously magical objects. Depending on your DM and your imagination, this could be a very great tool. Or it could be utterly unworkable.

    Divination: Portent gives you control of the world's chaos. Itís good on any character, and goes quite well with your own casting. Should work in wild shape just fine, but ask to be sure.

    Enchantment: Hypnotic Gaze can let you pretty much pacify one adjacent foe if you have the int to back it up. It takes your action every round, however. Could be situationally useful, but doesnít work with wild shape where it would be most likely to see use.

    Evocation: Sculpt Spells could actually be fairly useful for you, except it is limited to evocation spells. There are quite few evocation spells in the druid list to benefit, although you could get a few more via land spells.

    Illusion: A bonus cantrip. You should have enough cantrips by now. But depending on how it gets played, letting Minor Illusion have both eye and ear fooled could be helpful. Still, you lose much to boost one cantrip, albeit one of the most versatile.

    Necromancy: You regain hp when you kill people with spells. If your conjured minions killing someone counts, it may be something to look into, but otherwise you should leave the heavy damage dealing to others.

    Transmutation: You can turn lead into gold. Well, actually, you canít. And it turns back after an hour. The Conjuration ability is probably better.

    War Magic (XGtE): If Arcane Deflection means you keep your Concentration, itís perfectly fine you can only cast a cantrip the next round. Much better than having to put up a new Concentration spell. It works better for a druid than for a wizard. Getting your int bonus to initiative is also fine stuff, since you likely have good int since you multiclassed as wizard.

    Conclusion: Rounding off with two or even three levels of wizard is worthy of consideration for non-moon druids. Moon druid is less likely to dip wizard, although it may have its compensations.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-12-24 at 02:19 PM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Post 10

    Magical Items for Druids
    Though the player is unlikely to have much control over what magical items s/he gains possession of, there are still reasons to do a little analysis. Knowing which items you can make the most of helps in party loot distribution. Knowing the occasional trick or seeing a connection that may not be obvious at first also helps making the most of magical items.
    Finally, DMs may be interested in what items would go well with the party druid. On that note, just about anything that lets you climb, fly, breathe underwater, change into an animal, and the like may seem generally useful. But druids already have this sort of thing covered via wild shape, or will get it covered when their wild shape gets powerful enough. That doesnít make such an item useless to a druid, but it means that just about anyone else in the party can make more of that item, and will therefore be likely to get it over the druid.

    Magical items will generally fit regardless of size or build, as the DMG says. In other words, itís very often a DM call whether items will work with wild shape. Some items will be highlighted as particularly likely to work with wild shape. Anything involving a command word is beyond the capabilities of the average wild shape.

    If youíre the DM, and thereís going to be a lot of magical items in the campaign, and you have a moon druid: You should consider custom made items if you want the moon druidís wild shape to remain effective in battle compared to other party members. Very few magical items work with wild shape, and even fewer improve its offensive capacity. If the rest of the party all sport magical weapons and perhaps other items that improve their offensive, the moon druid will fall further behind in this area.

    Spoiler: Attunement
    Show
    Full story in the DMG from page 136. Some pertinent details on this mechanic are:
    You can only have three or fewer items attuned to you at any time.
    You can attune to an item during a short rest.
    Attunement is broken if the item is more than 100í from you for 24 hours or more.


    Spoiler: Unusual Abbreviations Used
    Show
    Att: Requires attunement
    Com: Common
    Unc: Uncommon
    Rar: Rare
    Vra: Very rare
    Leg: Legendary


    Item Commentary

    Spoiler: Items with Specific Interest for the Druid
    Show
    Druids have some niche areas of item use and capability, and there are few items that support or fit these. There are four items in the DMG and on in HotDQ that ought to get a druid player to perk their ears up when mentioned:

    Dragon Scale Mail (vra, att): You can wear this armour, which gives AC 15 + dex (max 2), disadvantage on Stealth and resistance to an energy type. Oh, and some other dragon-related stuff which may be situationally handy. Spiked Armor +1 (from SCAG) wouldnít take attunement, but then doesnít give the resistance or the dragon stuff. If that isnít available, Dragon Scale is worth still more consideration, being the best armour the druidís caster form is likely to get. At least you can wild shape to avoid the stealth penalty.

    Necklace of Prayer Beads (rar, att): This can potentially give you access to several spells not on your list: Bless, Branding Smite, Planar Ally and Wind Walk. That you can cast them as bonus actions is icing on the cake. The bonus action casting time could actually be a slight bother if you want to couple it with shifting to a wild shape as a moon druid: It depends on whether your DM is okay with you taking an action to shift over a bonus action. The language is ambiguous.

    Staff of the Woodlands (rar, att): Only druids can use this staff (people with the Magic Initiate feat as a druid may be allowed too Ė itís better for them!), but donít get too excited. It gives you some extra castings beyond your spell slots of spells you already have on your list. It's comparable to a handful of of Pearls of Power. It adds something to your stamina, but nothing to your options. The Tree Form at least lets you have plant life where you need it, but you canít Transport via Plants without leaving it behind. And free casting of Pass Without Trace is nothing to sniff at. If you're pinching pennies, you can cast Awaken without the gold cost (just don't make the DM hate this spell and take away its minion making power; because a harsh interpretation of Awaken makes it pretty much a waste of space for the druid).
    So this is highly fluffy for you, but mechanically could be disappointing - it was for me. In the hands of a non-druid, this would be pretty strong for a rare staff. But it does at least give you some extra room for spell use, both in slots and on your prepared list.

    Tome of Understanding (vra): This is an obviously good choice for you. If there is a cleric and a monk in the party, you are likely to have a fight (hopefully only verbally) on your hands. You may want to point out how rare it is to get an item that really suits the druid. Other classes may like more wisdom, but cleric, druid and monk depend on it more than any others.

    Insignia of Claws (unc): From HotDQ, this is the only item I've seen yet, which does for natural weapons what a Sword +1 does for sword attacks. DMs take note of this idea for when you homebrew magical items!
    If there is a monk in the party, even the moon druid should probably let them have it, painful as it is. There will likely be more punches thrown by the monk than natural weapon attacks made by the moon druid.
    Attaching the insignia to a wild shape should be possible with a simple harness, collar or similar arrangement.

    Medium Armour with the Minor Property 'Strange Material': On pages 142-143 of the DMG, you can find various quirks and descriptions that can be added to a magical item by the DM to play up the uniqueness of an item. One of these is that the item is made from a 'material that is bizarre given its purpose'. In other words, very likely something other than metal if we're talking armour. You may want to point your DM to these tables for this and other reasons, and as a DM you can consider this when you want to give the druid PC something to up their AC.


    Spoiler: All the Other Stuff
    Show
    Amulet of Health (rar, att): Youíre not likely to be the one to gain the most from setting your con to 19. Your wild shapes are likely to have better con than your caster form, as well. But you do use a lot of Concentration spells.

    Animated Shield (vra, att): While technically able to help the AC of wild shapes (by activating it while in caster form and then shifting to wild shape), the 1-minute duration and possibly the bonus action activation do not work too well. An elven druid could probably use it with their racial ranged weapon before this gets overtaken by cantrips in efficiency.

    Armor (rar-leg): Protecting your caster form is of course always attractive, and itís likely that an armour type youíd be interested in (studded leather, hide, or spiked armour from SCAG) is less sought after by the rest of the party.

    Arrow-Catching Shield (rar, att): Better than a non-magical shield, but may not be better than a +1 shield. A standard +1 shield takes no attunement, and it works against melee attacks, too. Spells may or may not count as ranged attacks, whether done from range or not.

    Bag of Holding (unc): With your likely low strength score, this is very useful to you. You can also easily fit inside via wild shape if this should become useful.

    Boots of Speed (rar, att): Gives enemies disadvantage on Opportunity Attacks while the boots are active, and doubles your movement rate. Serves you well if youíve been engaged in melee, and should allow you to gain some breathing space and keep the distance.

    Bracers of Defense (rar, att): +2 AC when unarmoured is of course attractive if the bracers are allowed to function for wild shapes. The monk, dragon sorcerer and the caster of Mage Armor (if the DM lets the bracers work with these AC calculations) are likely to compete with you for this item.

    Candle of Invocation (vra, att): If you can get one for your alignment, it allows you to create a hundred goodberries for a minuteís duration without expending spell slots. Then thereís the combat buffs.

    Cape of the Mountebank (rar): Panic button and general short range teleportation. If you donít have ways to handle someone getting in your face, this can do it for you. If the table is okay with it, you can put on a different cloak after youíve used this one for the day.

    Circlet of Blasting (unc): Something to do instead of flinging cantrips, which is desirable because your cantrips suck at dealing damage. Youíre likely to be the party member who gets the biggest bump from using this over at-will damage dealing.

    Cloak of Displacement (rar, att): Moon druids are always hungry for wild shape protection. So even though this will look silly and requires the DM nod, moon druids should consider this cloak. Unfortunately, it works better for people who already have good AC, at least when subjected to more than one attack in a round.
    The closer to 50% chance of being hit before disadvantage, the more is disadvantage on enemy attacks worth to you (the equivalent of +5 at 50%).

    Cloak of Protection (unc, att): All the frontliners are likely to want this one, and theyíre likely to be right in taking it. But if they are failing to keep a casting druid safe, are reaching 3 attunements, or have a more cherished cloak, +1 to AC and saves helps keep your Concentration. And it is just possible the DM will let you use this with wild shape, although it will look decidedly uncool (so try not to think about it or mention it too much if you do get it).

    Dancing Sword (vra, att): If this is a finesse weapon, and you are proficient (scimitar is covered, short sword if you are an elf), and your dex is at least decently good, the party may be better off giving this to you. Some of your spells (Heat Metal, e.g.) take up your bonus action, but otherwise youíre likely to have it free to spend on the average round. Most frontliners are likely to have ways to attack with their bonus action already.

    Defender (leg, att): Unfortunately you must attack with this sword to use its AC-boosting properties, so itís of little use to you.

    Eversmoking Bottle (unc): Once youíve set your conjured minions on the enemy or hit him with Heat Metal, it may be better for you to break line of sight to help maintain Concentration. This little thing can help there, even in an open field. Just try not to hamper your allies.

    Gem of Brightness (unc): Youíre more likely to have a semi-free action in the middle of a fight than most characters. If itís a choice between using a cantrip and trying to blind one or more enemies, your at-will attacks are likely the least loss to the groupís damage dealing.

    Glamoured Studded Leather (rar): Studded Leather +1 which may be made to look like clothes or some other kind of armour. Likely to be claimed by the rogue or bard, but you can use it too. Depending on your dex, it may well be the obvious choice of armour type for you. Walking around looking like youíre wearing plate could be useful in hiding your capabilities, and looking like youíre unarmoured is often polite and conducive to diplomatic efforts.

    Gloves of Missile Snaring (unc, att): This needs a free hand to use, and your caster form is likely to have that for casting spells Ė unless you have the Warcaster feat and prefer to be able to make OAs. Other rearliners (or maybe certain frontliners who, e.g., want to be able to grapple) are likely to compete with you for this one. At least you have a shield for protection; not all rearliners do.

    Gloves of Thievery (unc): If you serve as party scout, and need to deal with locks now and again, it may be wise to let you have these. No attunement, so you can switch them between party members with little trouble as needed.

    Headband of Intellect (unc, att): Int tends to be an all-or-nothing score, so wizards may not want this at all. Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights may be more along the +2 range (or less for certain builds), and could probably make better use of this thing than you can. If you do scouting, this could help your Investigation score if it comes up, and it helps with any lore skill you may have (Arcana is good, more so if nobody else is good at it; you did pick Arcana as one of your skills, right?).
    Your character is also likely to change less hideously than the Int 8 barbarian. Nobody wants to hear him speak like an Oxbridge graduate all of a sudden.

    Helm of Telepathy (unc, att): This is great for you, although youíll want someone else in the party to actually wear it. It allows communication while youíre in wild shape.

    Helm of Teleportation (rar, att): The attunement-requiring, luxury version of the Cape of the Mountebank. You have spells for general teleportation, but a Verbal-only panic button has its attractions.

    Hewardís Handy Haversack (rar): Bag of Holding with extra bureaucracy.

    Horn of Valhalla (rar-leg): You can safely use the horns of silver and bronze. The bard probably has higher priority to get this than the druid, but as usual you have the advantage of being freer with your actions once you have your Concentration spell for the fight up and running. Using this one effectively requires good judgment (and you should be used to handling minions), as itís once per week. Donít forget that a bunch of berserkers can be used for many things besides fighting for an hour.

    Ioun Stone (unc-leg, att): These are among the magical items most clearly usable in wild shape. Just activate them before shifting. Enemies trying to catch them is fine, as long as you kill them and get the stone back after the fight. They canít use it until they attune to it, and you donít lose attunement until at least 24 hours have passed.

    Javelin of Lightning (unc): Itís likely the frontliners will hold on to this one, but you may inherit it when they feel they no longer need it. You are at least proficient in javelin.

    Luck Blade (leg, att): The low bonus to attack and damage means it is likely that the frontliners have better options when the Luck Blade comes into the game. Just holding it gets some benefits you may like (especially if you have the Warcaster feat), and thereís the wishes, of course.

    Mace of Terror (rar, att): Not much of a frontliner weapon due to no bonuses to-hit. But the AoE fear with discriminatory targeting is pretty nice. This could well go straight to a caster druid for maximum party effect.

    Medallion of Thoughts (unc, att): A poor manís Helm of Telepathy, it can help the party communicate with you while youíre in wild shape.

    Necklace of Fireballs (rar): Once again, something for you to do besides plinking away with a cantrip while your current Concentration spell is taking its toll.

    Pearl of Power (unc, att): A boost to spells per day. Certainly useful to the druid, but since you have pretty good spell slot economy, youíre likely to see this one go to a blaster or healer.

    Pipes of Haunting (unc): Much like Mace of Terror. A little less elegant in targeting, but it does not require attunement. It does, however, require you to be proficient in wind instruments.

    Portable Hole (rar): Much bigger and far more clunky than Bag of Holding and Hewardís Haversack.

    Potion of Fire Breath (unc): Drink before wild shape to be ready to unleash an amusing surprise.

    Potion of Longevity (vra): Once you have Timeless Body, you can really make the most of this potion. Even the danger on repeated use can be somewhat mitigated by your ageing at 1/10th the normal rate.

    Quaalís Feather Token (rar): The tree version is quite versatile in its uses, but as a druid, you add a little to it. You have spells that need plants to function, such as Transport via Plant and Speak with Plants. With this, you can have a plant in places you canít otherwise find them.

    Ring of Elemental Command (leg, att): If you like summoning elementals, this ring can help you should you lose control of it. And in summoning them, it should be a small matter to gain the advantages of defeating them. Getting the language associated with the element can help, too, when you want your elemental to do more than average murder-kill-destroy.

    Ring of Feather Falling (rar, att): If youíre worried about being knocked out of form while using wild shape to fly or while climbing as a spider, this can help alleviate your worries. The descent is so slow, you may well be able to assume a new form before hitting the ground, or whatever you don't want to land in.

    Ring of Shooting Stars (vra, att): You have Faerie Fire as a spell, but apart from that these are all powers you donít get from your druid spells. Another way to do something better than flinging cantrips.

    Ring of Spell Storing (rar, att): Casting spells into it and letting someone, especially a non-spellcaster, have the ring is often a good idea. Spells for emergency use can be really good like this (like Faerie Fire and Healing Word), or spells you may need but are unlikely to prepare (Fog Cloud, Lesser Restoration, or Speak with Animals to talk with you while wild shaped). One advantage here is that you can activate someone elseís unspent Concentration, so you could e.g. put Pass without Trace up and get your conjured minions sneaked past somewhere.

    Saddle of the Cavalier (unc): If you have stooped to being someoneís mount while in wild shape, this saddle helps you defensively. If it fits (the DMís view) anyway.

    Scimitar of Speed (vra, att): While druid caster forms attacking in melee is generally an act of desperation or mopping up, you are unlikely to have invested in a means to attack with your bonus action. The frontliners will have searched high and low for ways to do that, and so may not need the bonus action attack. Finally, note that you donít need to make an attack with your action to use the bonus action attack from this weapon, unlike Two-weapon Fighting, Great Weapon Master or Frenzy. So you could, e.g., attack, Disengage, and move away. Or attack, and cast a spell.
    Having the Warcaster feat smoothes the use of this item.

    Sentinel Shield (unc): Advantage on Perception and Initiative may actually be better for you than a small bonus to AC. It will depend a lot on your group dynamics. If your frontliners generally can keep you safe, then getting off a quicker BC, debuff or conjure X spell will suit the whole group.

    Shield (unc-vra): If none of the frontliners use a shield, a magical shield is a nice addition to your defences. Itís also possible you can take over a frontlinerís old +1 shield when he finds a better one, e.g. Still need to be made of something other than metal. History is on your side here (wooden shields is what you'd expect, and even leather or hide shields are okay for druids), as long as 'made of metal' isn't interpreted to mean 'has some metals bits on it'. By that interpretation, you would need to look out for strap buckles, e.g.

    Spell Scroll (com-leg): Scrolls of particular interest to you are spells that are useful, but situational, and scrolls that aid in recovering bad positions when youíre low on spells. When you have the scroll of Water Walking and Greater Restoration in your pack, you donít need them in your prepared list.
    Early access to spells is somewhat tricky, but itís also something to keep in mind as a possibility.

    Staffs in general: These can be useful in your caster form hands (if attunement doesnít get in the way), expanding your options and often adding something to do instead of flinging mediocre druid cantrips at enemies. Getting access to things you donít already have is generally more desirable, and staffs that can be used at range are better for you than the melee ones.

    Wands in general: Like staffs, these can be useful in your hands (if attunement doesnít get in the way), expanding your options and adding something to do instead of flinging mediocre druid cantrips at enemies. Getting access to things you donít already have is generally more desirable.


    Finally, a big 'thank you!' should go to all the wonderful playgrounders who have given advice and encouragement or acted as sounding boards on the previous threads:
    Spoiler
    Show
    @ archaeo, AvatarVecna, Chambers, Chronos, CyberThread, dejarnjc, Demonic Spoon, edge2054, EKruze, EíTallitnics, georgie_leech, Giant2005, Grynning, Invader, Iolo Morganwg, JumboWheat01, Kajorma, MaxWilson, MeeposFire, mephnick, Naanomi, Nod_Hero, OttoT, Ozimandius, Perseus, Person_Man, RickAllison, Rummy, Saggo, SharkForce, SlicandDiceKid, Spacehamster, Strill, tieren, TSRD (conditionally!), and Yorrin:
    Thank you, guys!
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-01-28 at 05:28 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Post 11

    Just a final post reserved for future expansion. Feel free to comment below.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Post 11

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Just a final post reserved for future expansion. Feel free to comment below.
    One interesting little detail on the new cantrips - Primal Savagery is Somatic only, so you could use it against a caster opponent inside the area of a Silence spell.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Post 11

    @Strangways: Good point! It's not likely to come up a lot, but I'll see if I can't make a quick mention of it.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    When looking through the spell section I noticed the Guardian of Nature spell wasn't included, I assume it was just missed and if so, what are your thoughts on it? It seems like an ok way to get advantage and extra damage out of your wildshapes, but I'm certainly not as experienced as you are. If it was intentionally left out, any reason as to why?

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    I think the Dream Druid's Balm could be rated a tad higher, it's a good power if you're the primary healer. Not only does it work on a bonus action, and in wildshape, but it frees up your spell list from needing to include as many healing spells

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Sorry for the late replies! I forgot to subscribe to the new thread, so in the Christmas rush I didn't check in.

    @ MindxKiller: Thanks for pointing that out! I'll be sure to include that in my next update.
    As a quick word on it, it seems to me to be questionable for straight druids, with some few, niche examples that may make it worthwhile. But I'll have to do a bit of numbercrunching before I feel too sure about that.

    @ Protato: Thanks for the comment!
    To me, Balm simply doesn't have the numbers to be better than green. At level 20, you get a total of 70hp of healing on average per long rest. With Healing Spirit you can do that much healing for a second level slot, and with Heal you can do it with an action. Balm has its uses, but mostly the use is to not cast Healing Word.
    If your table is very accepting of meatball or yo-yo healing, then it gets better. But that doesn't seem to be the average for tables.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-12-27 at 09:27 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Quote Originally Posted by Protato View Post
    I think the Dream Druid's Balm could be rated a tad higher, it's a good power if you're the primary healer. Not only does it work on a bonus action, and in wildshape, but it frees up your spell list from needing to include as many healing spells
    Along these lines, it means a Dream druid can use Balm as a substitute for Healing Word, and instead prepare the more efficient Cure Wounds (or some non-healing spell). Balm is effectively X more level 1 spell slots (where X is the Druid's level), allocated to Healing Word, but with double the range, useable in Wild Shape form, unaffected by counterspell or silence, and using it doesn't count as casting a spell for purposes of restricting spell casting with your main action. With these considerations in mind, Balm strikes me as a very strong class ability. Of course, this assumes that you're going to be a relatively healing-centric druid, but if you're not, you're probably not going to choose the Circle of Dreams anyway.

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    Thumbs up Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Let me be the first to say, "THANK YOU HYMER!"

    I'm astounded that you re-wrote the entire thing. Well done!

    Now don't bother me, I've a lot of top-notch reading to do...

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Quote Originally Posted by EíTallitnics View Post
    Let me be the first to say, "THANK YOU HYMER!"

    I'm astounded that you re-wrote the entire thing. Well done!

    Now don't bother me, I've a lot of top-notch reading to do...
    I'll second that - thanks for a very comprehensive, well-considered guide to the Druid class, one of my favorite classes in D&D going way back. That D&D Beyond survey that came out a while back indicated that Druid was the least frequently selected class of all the characters created on D&D Beyond, which indicates to me that the Druid is still a class with a great deal of hidden potential.

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Great guide! Thanks for taking the time to do this -- especially the recent update for the XgtE book.

    One thing I wanted to point out was the the Faithful Summons works on the Incapacitated condition, which means if you are stunned, paralyzed, petrified, or unconscious. If someone uses hypnotic pattern, sleep, hold person, tasha's, etc, they will all trigger this ability. I think a lot of people thing it will only trigger on 0 HP, so I thought it important to clear that up.

    Also, will you be including the Tortle race in the races soon?

    Thanks again!

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Quote Originally Posted by kensai9001 View Post
    Great guide! Thanks for taking the time to do this -- especially the recent update for the XgtE book.

    One thing I wanted to point out was the the Faithful Summons works on the Incapacitated condition, which means if you are stunned, paralyzed, petrified, or unconscious. If someone uses hypnotic pattern, sleep, hold person, tasha's, etc, they will all trigger this ability. I think a lot of people thing it will only trigger on 0 HP, so I thought it important to clear that up.

    Also, will you be including the Tortle race in the races soon?

    Thanks again!
    And, should I be so unfortunate as to fail a Wisdom save, despite proficiency and a high Wisdom stat, then good luck to that nasty arcane caster's attempt to maintain concentration on hypnotic pattern while four CR 2 beasts are pounding on him every round. It's worth noting that the Faithful Summons ability says four beasts of your choice. It doesn't say that they have to be the same four beasts. So nothing prevents you from summoning four different beasts, provided they're all CR 2. Given that option, I'd be inclined to go with something like a Giant Constrictor Snake and 3 Aurochs. The Snake can auto-grapple & restrain the target on a hit, while the Aurochs knock him prone and unable to stand up because restrained creatures have zero movement. All four beasts will then get advantage every round thereafter until he can escape from the GCS's grapple.
    Last edited by Strangways; 2017-12-28 at 10:47 PM.

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    Zombie

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    I've reported this thread...

    ...to Daishan for inclusion in the Guides Guide. :)

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-D-amp-D/page7

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Perfect timing - Thankyou for the guide.

    I'm about to play a Druid in a OoTA campaign and this has been really helpful. I'm still stuck on Moon vs Shepherd. Possibly Underdark Land for thematic reasons. There will be four of us, and so far the only set character is a Trickery Cleric.

    This will be my second 5e character.
    My first character was a Ancients Paladin, as the group needed a tank.
    And the oath is as old as the elves and the rituals of druids so it was a natural pick for me ;)

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    @ EíTallitnics: Youíre very welcome, and thanks for the praise! I hope youíll find everything to your satisfaction. Do tell if you donít, Iím sure it still needs a lot of polishing.

    @ Strangways: Youíre likewise very welcome. And as for that survey, do remember that even according to that, for every two fighters (including anyone with any fighter in their build), youíd expect to see a druid. That doesnít seem to be a huge disparity to me. And since fighters get dipped into a lot, and druids very little, then things are even closer than the numbers indicate.

    @ kensai9001: Thank you, and thanks for the note on Faithful Summons. Youíre right, I get rather focused on my annoyance in that paragraph. Incapacitation should be mentioned, and I'll put it in my list for the next update.
    As for tortles, Iím not entirely sure what they are. Are we talking a race from DMís guild? If thatís it, then I wonít be including them. I also donít do UA stuff for the guide. Those things update so frequently I couldnít keep up. There's also a risk of something official coming out later with a similar or identical name. Oh, and paying for peopleís homebrew, well, sits poorly with me and my wallet.

    @ odigity: Thank you much!

    @ MickyDruidic: Thank you! And I hope youíll have fun!
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    As for tortles, Iím not entirely sure what they are. Are we talking a race from DMís guild?
    They were a special release from WoTC for Extra Life. They are AL legal and you can get the details on the DM's Guild:

    https://www.dmsguild.com/product/221...tle-Package-5e
    Gandalf was a druid.
    HP are not meat.
    Dragons aren't pet, they're people.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    @ Orvir: Thanks for the clarification!
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    The Circle of Spores (Unearthed Arcana) was released. You may want to take a look at it.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    @ talsubach: Thank you much!
    I'm not going to add it to the guide, though. UA is a bridge too far for a document that was about a hundred pages of text while I was writing, editing and rewriting it. UA updates come too frequently, are not official, are not play-tested, and could cause considerable confusion if the stuff gets officially published in a different form.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    Great guide. Tiny point that might be liable for misinterpretation - in the rogue multiclassing section regarding fire elementals - I think they can run through multiple opponents setting them all on fire, however it does take multiple turns as it is only the first they move through per turn that can be ignited.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd

    @ MrStabby: Thank you for the praise, and for the thought!

    The Fire Form text is a little... abstruse. There's a lot of information to impart in a few lines, and it's hard to write that clearly. Let me lay out my thinking, and I'll quote the Fire Form text:

    Fire Form. The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing. A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 5 (1d10) fire damage. In addition, the elemental can enter a hostile creatureís space and stop there. The first time it enters a creatureís space on a turn, that creature takes 5 (1d10) fire damage and catches fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire, the creature takes 5 (1d10) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.
    I'm guessing you're looking at "The first time it enters a creatureís space on a turn [...]". That can be interpreted the way you seem to do. I see it to mean you can only set fire to a given creature in this manner once per turn. Moving through it several times won't make the flames any worse. We see similar language in spells, which makes me think this was the intention.
    There's also the "and stop there", which tripped me up at first. I thought it meant the elemental had to stop inside the first enemy's space. But then I realized that the real specialness there is the ability to stop inside an enemy's space. Even a titan moving into a pixie's space has to keep moving until s/he clears it. Fire Elementals are exempt.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-01-13 at 02:14 AM.
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